Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vatos Urban Tacos: Doing Tacos & Margaritas and everything in between, the way it should be done so you can come "eat, chill & drink."

     Last night Hannah popped in from her adventures and kicked it Seoul-side for an evening before wandering elsewhere in the world. I haven't seen her in two years (VT crew) and we shared the evening just kicking it and enjoying a wonderful restaurant.
     If you are Seoul-side you've probably have heard about Vatos Urban Tacos! I wrote about this newly opened place a while back...
     Finding quality Mexican food, that's more than mushy simmered beans and mediocre spices, in Seoul, hell in Korea is challenging. At least I'm thinking so. A lot, if not ALL of the wraps have been frozen and reheated, getting that good ol'rubbery and chewy tortilla that doesn't really stand-up or pimp out the fillings. Vatos makes fresh tortillas from scratch.
what a sign~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     We both were greeted with an air of coziness, swanky embracing coolness, and able to sit down in an urban interior that from every angle gave a great view of the entire restaurant. Kenny told me a while back he wanted the place to be urban and chill, this it was. There were no cheesy plastic peppers hanging on the walls or Mariachi music stabbing marinating your auditory canals. The kitchen is open so you can see and hear everything being prepared (it's all made to order)!
     Hand made corn (tortilla) chips were given to us in a basket with a salsa verde and smokey salsa sauce, and they were both delicious. Not too salty, fresh, aromatic, and the perfect consistency. Not too soupy, and not too chunky. I personally loved the smokey salsa sauce, that smokiness is tantalizing.
chips and them salsas~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     We both started with makgeolitas, a mango one and an apple one. What is a maekgeolita? It's a margarita made with maekgoli instead of tequila. There's a gentle tartness and subtle sweetness that makes these drinks go down beyond smoothly, and they're delicious. I'm biased when it comes to maekgoli but these drinks have hip-checked my "favorite" Korean drink. Also, Vatos is the ONLY place where you can get these wonderful concoctions.
a makgeolita! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Hannah got the Kimchi veggie quesadilla, which was full of colors and served with a side of cabbage slaw. You could here the crunch happen when she cut into it, and although we haven't seen one another in years, when we got our food there was a definite silence.
the kimchi veggie quesadilla~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Kenny whipped me up a special vegan dish. It was a beany-veggie corn taco and as simple and pure as the ingredients were, it hit the spot. The veggies were sauteed to perfection and full of flavor, without all the salt!! The corn tortillas were fresh (of course) and not grainy or plastic like the ones I'm used to. (Kenny, you're doing the LA thing wonderfully)! I also got a side of slaw and I think I could have a bowl full of the slaw alone. Pure, simple, fresh...texture texture texture.
my vegan corn taco! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Working with a vegan theme, Kenny made a layered dip. The layers included intricately spiced beans, flavorful soft Mexi-rice, guacamole, and a sweet and fresh salsa. I'm not a rice fan but this stuff was great. I found myself using the chips as a spoon, chips are for dip folks...not the other way around. I hope this dish becomes a permanent, vegans of Seoul~ ASK FOR THIS!!!
layered-dip~ ugh Homer moan^^* (photo taken by VeganBeats)
    Kenny is more than vegan accommodating, AND Vatos is very pet friendly. People bring their pups to the roof and while their moms and dads nom on great food, the kids can play!
the tortilla press~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Being a friend of Kenny aside, I genuinely and completely support and believe that Vatos is a MUST, the food is so fresh. And maybe this is the VT snobbery coming out here, but food tastes so much better when it's fresh. The sauces are real, they aren't loaded with salt, there's nothing added to mask or fool you're taste buds. The tortillas, I mean I can't believe I used to think Mission tortillas were where it was at! I'll be here again, and I highly HIGHLY recommend you make the effort and treat yourself to something truly amazing~
beautiful Hannah (photo taken by VeganBeats)
Directions: Itaewon station exit 4, the ally BEHIND Outback Steakhouse.
Hours: Tues-Thurs 11:30 to 10pm,
           Friday-Saturday 11to 2pm and 5-11pm
           Saturday and Sunday the kitchen stays open 11:30 to 11pm.
Services: takes bookings, walk-ins are welcome, groups/parties, take-out, table service, and outdoor service. 
phone#: 02-797-TACO (8226)  

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