Who doesn’t like asking for something that’s ‘under the counter’. It’s an action that promises something illicit and hidden: forbidden fruit savored only by those with a taste for the taboo. In the case of Dos Tacos, doing so means enquiring about their range of ‘salsa clandestinas’: extra hot sauces designed for reckless thrill-seekers. Today’s secret poison is a strawberry salsa that, on first taste, is as sweet and innocuous as jam. Then, in seconds, it hits you, a flush of fire ripping through the body before tingling around the mouth in persistent waves: pain and joy both at once.
Dos Tacos isn’t the first place to design sauces with hardcore hotheads in mind, but it is unique in local terms for looking beyond just heat alone. “Salsas shouldn’t only be about their kick,” says the owner / manager Łukasz, “but also taste.” Growing his own chilies at his parents’ greenhouse down in the south of Poland, Łukasz has sourced some of the deadliest chili peppers knows to man, with the results ending up on the kitchen table of his Mexican-born chef, Isabel Balderas. “She’s our star,” says Łukasz, “our secret weapon.”
You understand why. Aside from the novelty of their heart-jolting salsas are milder ones designed with more than the minority in mind: zingy pineapple salsa, peppery red tomato salsa and a habanero orange that sends subtle prickles down the spine. So exceptional are the tastes of these many forget the nachos, choosing instead to scoop the salsas up and eat them straight like that.
That’s no problem, but while Dos Tacos are justifiably proud of these house sauces, their reputation has other strong foundations, that being the exceptional cooking of the Pueblo-raised Balderas. This is food filled with the bright, bold tastes of Mexico, refreshingly clean and with no shortage of zap. It’s food that helps you block out the outside world and the whistling winter winds. Most of all though, it’s food that you return to time and time again. Mexican has enjoyed a breakout year in Warsaw, but while the millennials clamor over new food trucks and funky little start-ups, Dos Tacos is a timely reminder that the old guard sometimes know best.
ul. Jasna 22, dostacos.pl