In a town where everything from Vietnamese-style pork belly to jerk shrimp and collard greens are wrapped in a tortilla, it takes a lot to make a taco stand out. But a new truck hopes to do just that with a menu that delivers hyper-local, organic cuisine at an affordable price.
Opened February 2 at 2410 E. Seventh St., Trill Taqueria is the work of chef Nick Belloni, formerly of Eden East and North Italia. Belloni tells CultureMap that the trailer was something he had always considered, but he finally took the plunge after realizing that working at a corporate restaurant wasn’t for him.
Although the house tortillas start with the ancient nixtamalization process, a technique that (greatly simplified) allows cornmeal to be made into dough, the fillings are far from traditional. The opening menu features a quartet of smoked meat tacos — brisket, lamb, pork, and a spicy chicken — all topped with a mole-like pecan salsa.
The vegetable offerings are an even bigger surprise. There, Belloni uses ingredients available from local farms to produce unconventional tacos like rapini with mozzarella, radish, and kale; potato and turnip hash with cilantro; and tempura fava leaves with black beans. A bottle of sprightly fermented chili and carrot sauce is available for those who want a little kick.
Belloni also offers versions of the main tacos with eggs or cheese for the morning crowds. The chef says that he saw breakfast as an “open lane” in the market since similarly locavore concepts like Dai Due Taqueria or Suerte are only open in the later hours.
As the business develops, Belloni plans to offer an occasional tasting menu for dinner and host collaborations with guest chefs, a move he says will allow him to play with more expensive ingredients. Currently, Trill Taqueria is open 8 am-5 pm on Tuesday through Sunday with a menu that is kept humble to accommodate prices of $4 or less.
Whatever the form the service eventually takes, Belloni says the menu will change throughout the year, noting that he already can’t wait to cook with tomatoes once they return to season.
“We just want to put our best work out in the form of a taco,” he says.