Reuben tacos and carnitas-smothered fries have landed in Mattituck. Justin Schwartz, who has run the Noah's on the Road food truck for the past four years (recently rebranded as On The Road), has opened Mattitaco, a colorful,16-seat taco joint with a whale for a logo. Chef Austin Douglas is manning the tortilla grill.
Douglas, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in upstate Hyde Park before returning to his native North Fork, said much of the menu was inspired by best sellers on the food truck, such as a Surf Taco of blackened shrimp with mango-pineapple salsa and lime aioli ($5) and the Hawaiian, a taco topped with carnitas, grilled pineapple salsa, and chipotle aioli ($6).
Douglas uses corn tortillas from Queens' Tortilleria Nixtamal and then tops them with slow-roasted meats, some local fish and, in season, local produce such as roasted sweet potatoes from Latham Farms that are the base for the vegetarian Farm to Taco (also topped with onions, sweet corn, cabbage and lime aioli, $5). The chef slow-roasts beef for eight hours for a Reuben taco ($5), and pairs bacon with lobster for a taco called the BLT ($7).
Weekly specials include a rotating ceviche -- with fish such as local fluke or black sea bass — as well as a torta and burrito.
Mattitaco is also serving up a stable of egg-topped breakfast tacos, and sides include battered, carnitas-topped dirty fries ($10) and esquitas, or corn shorn from the cob and topped with crema, queso fresco and cayenne ($4) and served in a cup. There is a bar, but instead of alcohol, the staff pours kombucha on tap, nitro cold-brew from Ace Coffee Co. and agua frescas in flavors such as watermelon mango.
By the end of the summer, Schwartz and Douglas hope to bottle Mattitaco's hot sauces, which travel from mild (grilled pineaplle-jalapeno) to very, very hot (watermelon-habanero). Schwartz said Deep Roots Farm in Southhold is growing hot peppers for Mattitaco.
Mattitaco is at 10560 Main Rd. in Mattituck, and open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. Orders are also taken over the phone (631-298-7826) and via the website, up to several days in advance, at mattitaco.com.