Biba Latin Kitchen cooks up exotic, approachable cuisine that makes every day one to celebrate flavor
Taco Tuesdays are a thing celebrated in bars, restaurants and households.
The origins of this celebration apparently began at Taco John’s, a Wyoming-based, national Mexican fast-food chain, which claims the designation on its website. Locally, one of the best spots to observe this day of discounted Mexican street food is at Biba Latin Kitchen in Beaver.
Almost five years ago, Biba opened its doors to a busy Third Street. At the start, chef and owner Jason Benegasi had a hard time convincing locals to try his food. He intrigued their taste buds by hustling tacos on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. At first, they were timid to try his cuisine, unfamiliar with Latin American flavors. Now, they are filing up his restaurant, becoming Jason’s friend — he often makes taco house calls — and even helping fix broken equipment.
Every Tuesday, you will find two (sometimes three) taco specials posted on Biba’s Facebook page. They come two per order at a discounted price of $6 and range in fillings from pork and chicken, to beef and mushrooms.
One of my recent favorite Taco Tuesday specials included chicken tacos with pineapple-tomatillo salsa, candied cherry peppers, and feta cheese. Pulled pieces of tender chicken was stuffed into a grilled flour tortilla and topped with a refreshing pineapple-tomatillo salsa, salty feta cheese and sweet and spicy candied cherry peppers.
Though the highlight of these tacos was the sweet heat from the cherry peppers, the star of the show — as in all of Biba’s tacos — is the chargrilled flour tortillas. You haven’t lived until you have tried one of them. The char marks and smoky flavor remind me of summer, which is much needed right now.
The other special of the evening was pork tacos, topped with a mild fire-roasted tomato salsa, crisp and crunchy red-cabbage slaw, salty feta cheese and a drizzle of sour cream. If you happen to miss Taco Tuesdays at Biba, don’t worry: There is usually at least one taco on the dinner menu.
The current menu, which recently changed to highlight more Lenten options, includes fish tacos made with tender, fresh, grilled fish of the day (swordfish the day I dined), breaded and deep-fried eggplant, pickled cabbage, sour golden raisins, and a Fresno chile-fennel salsa.
The menu tacos are decent, but in my opinion, don’t compare to the Tuesday specials. My only complaint about the tacos would be that there isn’t a constant vegetarian option, so vegetarians will have a hard time experiencing the deliciousness.
Tacos are done right here, and so is the rest of the menu. To share among the table, order the Chilaquiles: a bowl of thin-and-crisp corn tortilla chips topped with queso, chicken, tomatillo salsa, picklings, and avocado, then drizzled with crema. The best part is that a local fried egg topped with just the right amount of sriracha is placed on top of the messy goodness. And, when you break the yolk, it runs down through all the chip crevasses. It is way better than any nacho dish you might have somewhere else. This dish is currently off the menu, but will make a reappearance after Lent.
For now, order the guacamole: ripe avocado combined with smoked blue-cheese crumbles, crisp apple, pomegranate and local honey, served in half of an avocado shell with house-fried chips. If you are not an avocado or guacamole fan, this dish will turn you.
Another dish for sharing is the mozzarella di bufala: buffalo mozzarella topped with roasted red peppers and green chiles, drizzled heavily in a balsamic vinegar reduction and served with char-grilled house-made bread.
Be sure to make your reservation early. One of the days I dined here, both the guacamole and the buffalo mozzarella were sold out, which speaks volumes for how delicious they are.
Everything on Biba’s menu is sharable. And, that’s how I suggest you do it here.
Even with the soup. The lobster bisque is far from the creamy stuff you find at other restaurants. Here, a rich, dark-orange broth is served in a large bowl with lobster cracked minutes before service and topped with a fresh ricotta. It’s spicy, meaty and gluten-free.
A pro tip is to save some bread from the mozzarella dish and dip it into the broth.
Entrees have included shredded-beef enchiladas and pan-fried chicken breast, but have now changed to reflect a fresh fish of the day with mushroom bisque and a mushroom salad, house-made tagliatelle pasta tossed with caramelized onions, tomatoes, smoked almonds, and manchego cheese, and grilled filet mignon, served with a chimichurri sauce.
I was convinced for many years that the best thing on the dessert menu was the house-made churros. Three fried churros coated in cinnamon and sugar and served with two dipping sauces: warm caramel and a habanero chocolate ganache that is sweet with a finish of heat.
But I was recently introduced to the chocolate tres leches cake: layers of chocolate meringue cake topped with a creamy chocolate mousse and tart buttermilk whipped cream, served with raspberry compote. It’s light, airy, rich and chocolaty.
Both desserts are the perfect ending to any meal, but the tres leches cake is now my new favorite.
Benegasi is cooking up exotic and approachable cuisine with flavor and curiosity. You never know what he’s going to come up with next.
Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/diningout/7868563-74/biba-tacos-taco#ixzz3TWRC1W00
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