Louisville Magazine

APR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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[Dining Out] T RESTAURANTS & REVIEWS aco Punk (736 E. Market St., 584- 8226) is a counter-service taco joint with the heart of a culinary so- THE BUZZ Tortilla Takeover phisticate. Gabe Sowder, owner and chef, had always wanted to bring the lessons he learned from working with Edward Lee at 610 Magnolia to the masses with a quick- service restaurant, but he was a little fuzzy on the details. Until, that is, a serendipitous occurrence last year made it clear. "One day I was playing with my then five-year-old son Ezra when he said, 'Dad, you're a taco punk.' Mexican food was my pastime culinary ob- session and so it became a very natural pro- gression from there," says Sowder. His philosophy follows the operating principles of a fine-dining kitchen, starting with high-quality ingredients (he uses grass- fed beef and Amish chicken among other lo- cally sourced products) that Sowder "treats with skill and respect." Everything is made fresh, incorporating many of the chef's se- cret blends of spices. No dreary pre-pack- aged salsa here. Speaking of salsa, there are five different types to choose from on the salsa bar, in- cluding the pleasingly hot-sweet zing of the pineapple habañero salsa, as well as "Gabe's drain cleaner," which is kept behind the counter (no need to say more). Be you carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, pes- catarian or even gluten-intolerant, with more than 10 taco options anyone can find something to intrigue him or her here. A menu favorite is the Yucatecan-style fish: subtly spicy chile-rubbed Pacific cod served with chile lime mayo, enfolded in a hand- made corn tortilla garnished with shredded cabbage, pickled onions, cilantro and jala- peño peppers. Another popular choice is the rotating special called "Tajma-hell," tender curried lamb leg meat finished with a sub- lime combination of tamarind and onion chutney and cucumber mint yogurt. Nightly specials also entice, from kids- eat-free to wine specials — not on the same nights of course, but maybe someone should suggest it. — Melissa Duley PHOTO BY TED TARQUINIO 4.12 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE [119] LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE

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