Up until relatively recently, the basic definition of “taco” has been corn or flour tortillas, wrapped around a combination of beans, meat, and/or cheese. But as the culinary lines between disparate cuisines have continued to blur, and the term fusion has become all but obsolete, “tacos” can now refer to tortillas wrapped around just about anything — from bulgogi beef and barbecued brisket to roasted Japanese pumpkin and butter-poached lobster. That being said, Goa Taco — a Smorgasburg stand turned Lower East Side pop-up — has gone one further by doing away with the tortillas themselves, swapping out griddled discs of flour or masa and subbing in paratha; flaky, pan-fried Indian flatbreads.
The quirky concept actually arose out of necessity; when chef and owner Duvaldi Marneweck slapped together an impromptu meal one morning from the sole contents of his fridge (eggs, bacon and parathas). And while you’ll still find that original creation offered during brunch on the weekends, Marneweck has expanded his repertoire to include all manner of globally inspired fillings. Think Rojo Lamb Shoulder with tzatziki and eggplant salsa, Housemade Chicken Chorizo with brussels sprouts slaw and fontina, Vietnamese-style Banh Mi, made with poached turkey or organic tofu, or an all-veggie assemblage of Spiced Honey Roasted Butternut Squash, paired with salsa verde, kale and pepitas. There’s even a sinfully sweet dessert fashioned out of parathas as well; gooey, churro-esque fritters, rolled around melted chocolate, smoky hazelnuts, and creamy mascarpone cheese.
So far, Goa Taco seems to be a hit; originally slated to run for six weeks, Marneweck has now extended his residency though the end of February. So perhaps it’s time we decided to rethink our definition of “tacos” completely to simply refer to delicious things, stuffed inside of other delicious things.