I never have a more difficult time deciding what to order than when I’m at Taco Bamba. The Falls Church taqueria has been open since 2013 but despite more than three years of working my way through Victor Albisu’s menu, I still have yet to narrow down my favorites into an appropriately sized order. Instead, my typical Bamba meal ends with me moaning on the couch, ruing my too-small pants (never my too-big belly) while my wife casts disapproving looks in my direction.
See, narrowing down Taco Bamba favorites is an exercise in futility. Plump, overly-stuffed tortillas means two tacos is enough for most anyone, but even choosing just three items from its all-star lineup is a challenge. There’s Bamba’s eponymous taco, putting skirt steak, chorizo, chicharrones, grilled guacamole and fresno chiles together for a mouth masterpiece, while the Black Pearl is the pinnacle of fish taco-ness combining hot-and-crispy fried tilapia, black ailoi and a creamy, spicy slaw. The El Beso – a taco I’ve never failed to order on a visit – mixes crispy chunks of pork and beef tongue with charred scallions and chili aioli all together for a kiss I want to last forever. Then there’s the simple-but-ridiculously-tasty braised chicharrones, the spicy shrimp, the tripe and a play on poutine with fries, bacon, barbacoa jus, spicy mayo, cotija and escabeche onions.
Seriously, I end up ordering four tacos almost every, single time. That is, of course, when I’m not battling one of the Super Tortas.
What’s a Super Torta? Oh, only a sandwich so big it could feed a family of four. Weighing in at close two pounds, the fan-favorite Torta Bamba puts just about every meat in the house between bread – there’s ham, carne asada, chorizo, al pastor, chicken milanesa, beef milanesa, a freakin’ hot dog, chihuahua cheese, pineapple, mayo and jalapenos en escabeche. No, that’s not a list of the options – that’s ONE sandwich.
“There are a bold few who can finish the whole thing,” says Bamba chef-and-owner Victor Albisu.
I am not one of those few. While I have ordered the scale-tipping sandwich several times, it always ends the same way: me on the couch dodging dirty looks from my wife with a half-eaten torta lying next to me.
But man, is it worth it.
Taco Bamba | 2190 Pimmit Drive | Falls Church | tacobambarestaurant.com
– Jody Fellows