by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine
My next tasting experience takes me down to 14th Ave once again, and this time to Taco Dive! Located in the previous Counter Culture location, they opened their doors this past summer on July 20th. Owners Allison O’Connor and Bonnie Turk both left their secure careers as educators behind to venture into the restaurant business. Their first location has been open for a while and is located in Fort Pierce. Banking on their first successful location, they decided it was time to branch out and open a second one in Vero Beach. So far it has been a hit and definitely a welcome addition to the downtown Vero restaurant scene.
Upon first entry into the restaurant, it was nicer inside than I was expecting. I guess with a name like “Taco Dive” I did not know what to expect. The other surprise was that it was a sit down restaurant, and not counter service. I figured due to the size of the restaurant and type of food they served, you would simply order at a counter, and they would bring it to you once ready. The interior of the restaurant has been changed quite a bit since the previous tenants that occupied the space. It has that industrial gastro-pub style decor with dark stained wood table tops, metal legs and dark grey walls. Reclaimed wood pallets hang on the walls, and an old spring mattress is suspended from the ceiling that has been outfitted with Edson bulb light fixtures.
Now on to the food! Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!
Smothered Tots – ($7.00) – The first item they brought out for us to taste was this wonderful dish! It’s a pie plate full of tater tots that have been baked until golden brown, then smothered with their house made queso, and topped off with diced jalapeño’s. The tots were nice and crispy, the queso was full of flavor, and the jalapeño’s added just a little bit of heat to the dish. This is definitely a fun shareable appetizer and a great way to start your meal.
Taco Bella (Left) – ($5.00) – A lot of my readers are always asking me about vegetarian options in Vero, so I thought it was a good idea that I try one and let you know my opinion about it. This taco is made with a flour tortilla and is slathered with guacamole, then it’s filled with marinated portabella mushrooms, arugula, black bean corn salad, and topped off with diced tomato and a wedge of lime. Upon first bite, I was able to taste the black beans and the tomato’s, but not the mushrooms. They could have used a little bit more seasoning for my taste, but everything on it was very fresh.
Irish (Middle) – ($5.00) – I’m a huge fan of NY Deli, so I decided to try the corned beef taco. It’s made with a flour tortilla, house made corned beef that is slow roasted in cold barley soup (beer), and topped with sautéed cabbage, tater tots and spicy mustard. The corned beef was definitely the star of the show. It was as flavorful and salty as I expected it to be, and I could actually taste the beer it was slow roasted in. The cabbage added a nice texture variation, and the spicy mustard was a great way to top it off. I will be getting this one again on my next visit.
Steak (Right) – ($5.00) – My wife was with me for this review, and steak is one of her favorites, so we decided to give this one a try. It’s made with a flour tortilla, marinated beef tenderloin, shredded cabbage, diced tomato, thinly sliced radishes, and topped with queso fresco crumbles and their cilantro Dive sauce. The steak was fantastic! It was very tender and had a nice beefy flavor. The cabbage and sliced radish added a nice crunchy texture, and the queso and cilantro Dive sauce added a creaminess to it. It was so good, we were fighting over the last few bites of it!
BBQ Pork Torta – ($7.00) – Now this is not something that I expected to find on the menu at a taco place. It’s made with slow roasted pork, tossed in a Carolina BBQ sauce, and topped with a pineapple slaw. The bun is from Miranda’s bakery in Fort Pierce. I’m into BBQ and consider myself an experienced pit master, and this is really good pork. With just the right amount of BBQ sauce, the pork was moist and tender. The slaw was crunchy, a little sweet, and delicious! This is one amazing torta!
I’ve had the opportunity to dine here twice now and both times I’ve been really impressed. It is more upscale and trendier than I thought it would be, but still casual and family friendly. While their main menu offerings are Mexican inspired, they do offer some additional choices that will please just about any diner. Almost everything that comes out of the kitchen is scratch made so they can accommodate just about any request you might have. From salads, nachos, tacos and tortas, to having some really great local beers on tap, this is definitely not your average “hole in the wall”
Have you tried Taco Dive? What has your experience been with them? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.
Atmosphere – 5 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 5 Forks
Ratings Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent