You won’t mind climbing a flight of stairs to reach Mission Taqueria. Owner Sam Mink of Oyster House has fully renovated and partnered with Brett Naylor, Oyster House’s chef, to recently open their own Mexican restaurant right upstairs on 1516 Sansom Street. Daniel McLaughlin, Oyster House’s General Manager is overseeing the restaurant as Chef Andrew Sabin, from Chestnut Hill’s El Poquito, is cooking traditional taqueria fare from scratch, using a wood-fired grill.
The space has been totally transformed from the former Nodding Head Brewery. Designer Hope Velocette of Chrysalis Studio has worked wonders brightening up the whole space with 6 large skylights, adding live plants, neon accents, and there is even a small open courtyard in the center of the dining room behind the hostess stand. Bay windows overlook Sansom Street and the bar serves cocktails with fresh squeezed juices (including kale, ginger, cucumber, celery, apple pineapple, jicama, mango carrot, red pepper, cantaloupe, orange) next to the open kitchen. Inspiration for the restaurant came from Sam when lived for nine years in Mission, San Francisco as well as trips to Mexico City.
Beverage manager Christina Rando has crafted a drink menu with agave spirits and eight beers on tap. We started off sipping the Frozen Watermelon Margie with cucumber and serrano chile. This is the only frozen drink on the menu, but we hope they will add more! The Pineapple Daiquiri made with light rum, fresh squeezed pineapple, and lime was light and refreshing. The Verano masquerades as a healthy drink with a stalk of celery, its made with gin, grapefruit, celery, lemon, and soda. We love a little spice so we ordered the Bee Sting, but with blanco, lemon, and jalapeño-infused honey it didn’t have much of a kick.
For starters the Tlayuda is like a corn masa flatbread made with pasilla corn labneh, roasted tomato, watercress, and loaded with shredded cotija cheese. Easily big enough to share, this starter is ideal for groups. Although the Empanadas might have stolen the show, filled with grilled plantain, poblano, queso oaxaca and crema for dipping. We loved them coated in Mission’s housemade hot sauce served in a teddy bear dispenser. Ceviche has been popular since the opening August 11th so we ordered the Yellowfin Tuna Ceviche with watermelon, sungold tomato, habanero vinegar, and basil .
Every taco here is served on a homemade corn tortilla. Surprisingly the Lengua Tacos with veal tongue, onion ash, braised cabbage, and mustard seed mayo sell out! The Cabrito Suadero Tacos with braised goat, feta, and black currants are the staff favorite. We tried the Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos with recado negro, avocado, queso fresco, and jalapeño relish and the Grilled Wild Shrimp Tacos with mole verde, jalapeño & red onion criollo.
For family-style dining Mission offers three platters on the menu, intended for a party of four to share. Options include: Lamb Barbacoa with quinoa tabouleh, sesame tzatziki, pickled vegetables; Cochinita Pibil with achiote marinated pork shoulder with pickled red onion, salsa verde; and Mariscos Veracruzana which is a seafood platter of grilled swordfish, clams, shrimp, calamari, and salsa veracruzana.
Mission Taqueria can accomodate large parties up to 120 people and is now taking reservations. They are open everyday starting at 5 pm serving dinner. After Labor Day look for lunch and brunch service to begin. Tortas, burritos, and entree salads will be added to the lunch menu. Happy Hour will begin Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm.
Finish your night with the Churros, crispy on the outside and soft dough on the inside. Served with a side of mexican chocolate and peach-poblano jam, always save room for dessert!