Iowa Eats First Look! Taco Gato; Cedar Rapids, IA!

The latest restaurant endeavor from the creative minds of FNF restaurant group will be officially opening their doors to the public this coming Tuesday! (4/18) Taco Gato (209 3rd St. SE) is the newest restaurant in downtown Cedar Rapids and features spins on Mexican and southern cuisine.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the soft opening this past Friday night and was joined by three kids. The decor of the place is definitely Mexican inspired and my kids enjoyed seeing the array of Luchador wrestling masks around the restaurant. The bar was dimly lit as light from the beautiful stained glass showcased the many bottles of booze that go towards the many cocktails Taco Gato offered.

Upon seating and seeing the menu my kids are instantly drawn to anything that reads “queso”. So, a starter of salsas (red/traditional + tomatillo) along with guac and the ever popular queso. Chips were delicious and well seasoned. I’m a sucker for tomatillo salsa and would put it on about anything. A great start to the meal. Queso didn’t stand a chance.

I let the kids decide what to order as my focus automatically goes to fish tacos and pastor tacos. My son went with the fried crawfish tacos but also wanted to try the shrimp and grits, and my daughters went with the gumbo. Enough to feed an army but grateful my kids are willing to try and experience new foods.

The flavor on every single dish was out of this world. The fish tacos were perfectly cooked….crunchy and a delicious batter. Your taco orders of two come in a bento style serving box accompanied by delicious refried beans, rice, and fried edamame. I’ll get the fish tacos every time! Pastor were just as good…fresh pineapple pico and perfectly cooked pork. I was lucky enough to get a small bite of the fried crawfish tacos as my son isn’t exactly the best at sharing meals, especially when they taste as good as this.

The gumbo was excellent. A dark roux with copious amounts of crawfish and chorizo. Wonderful and filling! The star of the show that everyone raved about however was the “Almost Shrimp and Grits”. Cotija creamed corn, chorizo, collards, and enough blackened shrimp to feed an army. So much flavor, so delicious. Besides the tacos, if there’s a dish that Taco Gato can use as a calling card it may be this one!

Overall: Another wonderful dining experience. It’s what you come to expect from the FNF restaurant group…wonderfully talented, creative, and inspired dishes that make visiting their establishments an always memorable experience. Can’t recommend enough, opening Tuesday to the public! Cheers!

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