14 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr
First, let’s get the really weird part out of the way: Xolo Tacos, a fun taqueria and bar right off Lancaster Avenue, serves 15 different kinds of tacos, from the traditional beef and chicken to some unusual vegetarian choices (cactus leaf, corn fungus), to . . . roasted crickets.
So we tried the crickets (known as Chapulines). You can see the picture here. It looks a whole lot more creepy than it tastes, which is mostly like burnt popcorn. If burnt popcorn had antennas. It helped to wash it down with a frosty Modelo.
Anyway, that was mostly about a dare. The important part here is that I found some terrific, tangy tacos (three for $8.50) at one of my first stops. The Pastor (roast pork with pineapple) was fresh off the grill with a little bit of char and a fun tanginess from the pineapple. The colorful Mahi-Mahi came with a big chunk of blackened fish, accented by diced red and yellow peppers, purple onions, cilantro and sliced cabbage.
Owner Carlos Fink gets all his ingredients from a Mexican food purveyor out of New York, and everything from the corn tortilla wraps to the Mexican cheese to the diced cactus tastes topnotch. (The crickets, in case you’re wondering, come from Virginia. Fink fries them up on a griddle). Speaking of top shelf, Xolo also has 30 kinds of tequila, in case you’re feeling adventurous.
Fink has an interesting back story. He was born in Philly, his mother a local nurse, his father a surgeon from Mexico. He moved to Mexico City as an infant, and returned here at age 19 to attend Temple U. The guy blends the best of both cultures.
I don’t know what delicious tacos I’ll discover in the coming weeks. But Xolo was a great early discovery. Don’t be surprised if it ends up in my “Clash of the Tacos” finals in May. And you won’t have to sample the crickets.
More reviews here.