Turnt up tacos

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Island casual: While there are plenty of taquerias serving humbly delicious tacos, Sacramento now has a battalion of trendy fusion ingredients on tortillas and steamed buns: duck confit, korean fried chicken, steak and egg, beer-battered fish, fried oyster.

Funky options proliferate at the new Mas Taco Bar (1800 15th Street, Suite D) that opened for business on March 22 with a full-service restaurant and bar where Dos Coyotes Border Cafe once served walk-up counter burritos. The tacos go for $3-$3.75.

Hip and festive, the decor includes a patterned interior mural by artist Irubiel Moreno, fishing baskets from the Philippines that serve as light fixtures and handwoven lampshades from Colombia.

“These choices go beyond your authentic taqueria—we’re not trying to compete with taquerias at all,” says Marc Nuevo, director of operations at MAC Hospitality. “We just wanted a fun menu that was interactive and to feature flavors from all around the world.”

Nuevo and the owners of MAC Hospitality—brothers Mason, Alan and Curtis Wong, hence the acronym, who own Iron Horse Tavern and other restaurants—traveled to Florida, Texas, San Diego and San Francisco to scout for the best taco and Mexican fusion concepts. The result is a restaurant that feels current and urban, with updated twists such as a dim sum-style ordering card that allows you to tally up your tacos on paper.

Mostly curated by Nuevo, the drinks are designed to pair well with the casual vibe and international influences.

“I lived in San Diego seven years, and I’m also Filipino, so I’m an island boy at heart, and I wanted to bring the nostalgia of having a drink by the water,” Nuevo says. “We feature cocktails that are classic cocktails that you would find near a body of water. We just threw a little bit of a twist on it so it would match the tacos.”

California craft beers in cans add to the dressed-down feel. Nuevo is especially proud of the Mas Margarita ($9) that elevates a silver margarita with aged Dobel Diamante tequila. The bar makes all margaritas fresh, which can be a challenge for high-volume restaurants.

“We figured why not, people are willing to wait an extra 10 seconds for a margarita that’s made in front of you, fresh right out of the lime every time,” he says.

Deja vu, Las Vegas: Seasoned chef and restaurateur Sam Marvin opened his second Echo & Rig location in Sacramento’s Downtown Commons on Monday, April 2. The steakhouse’s menu features some best-sellers from the original Las Vegas location, such as Bavette Steak and Skirt Steak with Cowboy Marinade.