Dirty Taco and Tequila’s mission statement declares that it is “part LA taco truck, part Miami liquor stand . . . a mashup of street food, global flavor and urban style.”
In any event, “dirty” certainly doesn’t refer to the décor of this spiffy new spot in Wantagh, which is casual, perhaps leaning (as the night progresses) toward rollicking, but clean as a whistle. Both the dining room and the exterior wall facing the parking lot are graced by elaborate custom murals by local Arlene Mcloughlin that feature Day of the Dead-style images (skulls, roses, etc.).
The menu fulfills the promise of the name, with 15 tacos and 15 tequilas. Some of the former are classic — like the carne asada with pico de gallo, or Baja-style fish taco with cabbage slaw — but most evince a global perspective: Korean short ribs with kimchi slaw, kung pao chicken with crispy wontons and queso fresco, Buffalo shrimp with shaved celery and blue-cheese crema, roasted cauliflower with chipotle pesto. Tacos are $4 to $6.
Precede your tacos with chips, wings, poke or nachos; accompany them with plantains, street corn, fries, rice or cold peanut noodles.
The 15 tequilas are divided into three categories, blanco (young), reposado (aged up to a year) and anejo (aged one to three years). Shots range from $8 to $12, flights from $20 to $27. There are signature tequila cocktails as well as margaritas, sangria and beer.
Dirty Taco and Tequila takes over the free-standing building that, from 2015 to May this year, was One Block East. The owners are Tom Cataldo Jr. and his mother, AnnMarie Cataldo, president of Luxe Staffing and Events in Bellmore. Father Tom Cataldo Sr., a catering veteran, is helping out, too.
Dirty Taco and Tequila is at 3261 Merrick Rd., Wantagh, 516-785-5300, dirtytacoandtequila.com.