Dependent on the amount of sunlight, stretches of downtown Buffalo can be cold, bleak places post quitting time between November and March. That’s one reason why the Ellicott Street color explosion that is Deep South Taco is so appreciated this time of year.
Aside from its ambitious menu of tacos, cocktails and chicharron (crispy pork skin), the locale is an escape from the elements, both physically and mentally. Lean on its warmed bartop or under its numerous space heaters and you’ll quickly shed your North Face gear.
[See Sharon Cantillon's photo gallery from Deep South Taco]
Settle on stools and gaze across its vibrantly colored barroom and you’ll forget what month it is. It’s a great break from the season’s meteorological inconveniences, all served up with just the right amount of atmosphere and ghost pepper-aided attributes.
The beer: Abita Purple Haze
The breakdown: Yes, winter is a time for dark, full-bodied beers that team well with the inclimate, slow-crawl nature of the season. But when you’re hanging in a brightly lit and heated Mexican oasis, why not pretend it’s a different season?
[Read a "Starters" post on Deep South Taco from Nov. 14, 2015]
Ordering an Abita Purple Haze is one way to do this. The refreshing raspberry-accented lager goes well with any plate of DST’s southern-served spice, and its comparatively pedestrian 4.2 percent ABV means you won’t unexpectedly land face-first in your giant nacho platter or tostada de hongos after hoisting a few.
Get sauced: This is an easy suggestion for those interested in going rounds with the tequila, rum and whiskey-based selections that line DST’s creative cocktail menu. But for those who will simply ride in for a taco or two, the sauce rec refers to the locale’s house-made habanero sauce. It starts sweet and veers into tangy before giving waiting taste buds a searing burst of heat.
Try it on the taco de carne asada — but be ready to extinguish if necessary.
Full wardrobe change — or Febreze: Authentic Mexican restaurants aren’t typically known for their superior ventilation. And with delicious recipes involving garlic, grilled meats and plenty of onions, Deep South Tacos’ aromas hover around clothing, hair and hands before clinging for hours after you’ve walked out its cactus-flanked exits.
Is it worth it? Yes. Just have a change of clothes or bottle of Blackbeard’s Delight handy if you plan on transitioning from tacos to another target-rich environment.
When to go: Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, then open for an added hour on Friday and Saturday. Stop in for authentic southern-style Mexican; a fleet of cocktail or craft beer choices; or simply to remind yourself that warmer days are mere months away.
Where: 291 Ellicott St. (235-8464)
Founded in: 2015
Beers on tap: 10-plus beers.
Great place for: southern-style taqueria fare; a vibrant night out; and drinks near the only illuminated Mexican wrestling mask in Buffalo.
Consider sampling: one of its many tequila-based cocktails.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.