Gourmet tacos are quite the trend these days and taquerias and taco-based food trucks are popping up all around Salt Lake City to meet the demand. Now there is another one to add to the list, Luna Blanca Taqueria, located near the mouth of the canyons on the Southeast end of the valley. Brought to you by the same owners as Cafe Trio and Fresco, the new taqueria focuses on tacos, burritos and a long list of cocktails.
Luna Blanca Taqueria is aiming to catch the crowd on its way home from the canyons as the go-to post-mountain casual eatery. Saying that the restaurant vibe is laid back is an understatement; there is almost no decor to the place at all. It seems cold, open and in dire need of some character. At least the menu has some personality. Even though it’s mostly filled with traditional Mexican favorites like tacos, quesadillas and burritos, the cocktail list has a wide range of liquors all at a reasonable price (many around the $5 mark).
My friend and I wanted to try a handful of tacos so, after starting with a small order of guacamole ($5), we ordered four to split plus the Chile Braised Chicken Quesadilla ($8). The quesadilla was borderline bland, made with simple shredded chicken and cheese wrapped in a tortilla with sour cream and guacamole on the side. Even the guacamole was a bit disappointing; we actually squirted the limes from our margaritas into it to add some flavor.
The tacos are served separately for a taco-cart feel and range from $3-3.75/each. We started with the Fish Taco, which varies daily (Saturday night was Escolar), served with a pineapple jalapeño slaw. The flavor wasn’t overly fishy and had just the right amount of jalapeño spiciness. Next was the Seared Shrimp Taco, with a citrus marinade and a bit of salsa and avocado crema. I’m usually hesitant about shrimp, but thought this was a hit.
For our next round we picked the Carnitas, roasted pork with cilantro and pickled onions. Nearly flavorless, the dry pork needed some sort of sauce. (We added the table salsa without much satisfaction.) And our final taco was the Portobello Mushroom with roasted quinoa, roasted peppers, onions and chipotle crema. Slightly spicy, this one had a lot of flavor and an interesting texture thanks to the mushroom and crunchy quinoa.
This was plenty of food for us, but at $3 a taco for small tacos, it could get pricy if you had a heftier appetite. The server told us the burritos are huge, so they might be a better deal for $8/each. Even the house margaritas, a reasonable $5, proved to be incredibly tiny, so prices and sizes seemed to vary across the board.
Go to Luna Blanca Taqueria for :: a casual bite to eat when the focus is on drinks, not food. Note :: open for lunch (at 11 a.m.) and dinner Monday-Saturday with plans to open Sundays in the fall. Online ordering is available via seamless.com.