Red Star Taco Bar

by Steven Behling


Last Saturday, my friend Natalie and I celebrated the gorgeous summer weather here in Seattle by dining on the outdoor patio at recently-established Red Star, a taco bar in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.  I must confess that when I first ate here, I was so enamored with the Tortitas Ahogadas (flavorful pork carnitas on a crusty baguette dipped one bite at a time into a sort-of-spicy tomato bowl of goodness) that I went back three times over the next two weeks to eat them again.  I believe the kitchen was experimenting with the recipe, as the quantity of pork and consistency/spice of the sauce varied greatly; nevertheless, it's right by my office and is open late.

The chips and salsa at Red Star are a bargain, and the warm chips and fragrant salsa will stay with you long after your meal is over.  Not in the heartburn sense, although I suppose that might be true for some (here's a fun fact...I've never had heartburn), but in the garlic-and-onion-lead-to-killer-morning-breath-no-matter-how-much-you-brush-and-rinse sense.  Goodness knows my cat, who is a snuggle bug, is not to be found in my bed the morning after Red Star, my morning breath a terrifying force which drives her away.  But it's only for a day or so, and the food here is worth it.

At this particular visit, I encountered a magical culinary enigma: The Taqui-Queso.  Your choice of protein is gently rolled up in Oaxaca cheese and GRILLED before being placed atop a soft corn tortilla and topped with pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa (Tip: Ask for some regular salsa on the side...you'll want it).  You know how when you bake a pizza or some other cheese-doused treat and some of the cheesy goodness spills over the side, caramelizing into a deep brown that transforms the natural dairy sugars into a whole new world of deliciousness?  Perhaps you've topped your homemade mac 'n' cheese with some cheddar, gouda, fontina, or parmesan and put it under the broiler to create this same, arguably necessary touch to a beloved comfort food dish?  The Taqui-Queso envelops, nay transforms a typical taco with this blanket of grilled cheese in such a way that you never want to arrive at the last bite.  Which, truly, you never have to, because you can just order another.  

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I needed to just show you the inside. Grilled and tight on the outside, gooey on the inside.  Get thee to Red Star Taco Bar and order thyself a Taqui-Queso!

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Red Star Taco Bar is located at 513 N 36th St in Seattle, Washington.