Tacofino Commissary puts down roots on the streets of East Hasting just across the street from the Donald’s Market by way of Vancouver Island — delivering a small menu of Mexican-influenced small plate dishes in a rustic, communal space dining room.
Originally conceived as a food truck on the shores of Tofino dishing out tacos, then travelling across the waters with their trucks to do the same in Vancouver, the Commisary serves both as a homebase for the trucks and as a gathering place for folks to sip some local brew and share a bite to eat amongst friends and strangers.
Inside, rows of pale wood communal tables and benches run parallel while a collection of wildly organic custom bulb lighting dangle overhead. It’s near closing time and despite the cool night breeze, a fan is strategically placed along the floor to help relieve the stuffy room.
Our seating on the long table is marked by a numbered wooden marker which our server placed along with our setting. We started with the inocuously sounding Cauliflower: crispy bits of cauliflower lightly seasoned with tumeric, spicy fish sauce and topped with a sprinkling of crispy rice. Despite the menacing looking whole roasted serrano chili, the dish was remarkably mild.
If thoughts of freezer burn dried potato chunks make you grimace, you have little to fear with Tacofino’s adorably christened Tater Tots, which are anything but: beautifully fried tiny croquettes accompanied with cheddar curds, queso fundido and a tangy chorizo verde and a drizzling of kimchi crema.
The fish taco delivers a solid, crispy yet tender ling cod garnished with crunchy shards of cabbage, chipotle mayo, salsa fresca on a single, paper thin, grilled tortilla flatbread.
But, throw some melt-in-your-mouth pork jowl topped with crispy craquelins, fried shallots, sweet pineapple, cabbage and a dousing of sriracha in a double tortilla blanket, then you get some kind of magical thing that happens.
Our evening ended with Death Cab for Cutie’s Into the Dark dripping though the speakers as our Banana Churros arrived: a curiosly curved, but crispy, ibarra chocolate infused treat served with a scoop of banana sriracha ice cream.
Our meal, including two drinks, taxes and tips came to under $60. The staff were friendly and attentive, and despite the stagnant air, the space was quaint and comfortably casual.
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