One of Portland's most anticipated
summer fall openings will start mixing margaritas as early as next week on NE Killingsworth. Podnah's pitboss Rodney Muirhead is set to debut the 42-seat La Taq next door to his wildly popular barbecue restaurant, offering a classic cantina vibe. "We just wanted a neighborhood bar with a Mexican cantina feel," Muirhead says of the bright space, designed by Podnah's revamper Kirk Kelley. Twelve stools wrap around the bar; tile sourced from Mexico has been fitted onto the floor and back wall; and a punch-tin detail on the bar (featuring woodwork by Justin Rideout) was custom chiseled and hammered by Kelley himself.
According to Muirhead, the menu remains faithful to traditional cantina fare — with the exception of the much-promised queso, he laughs — and sometimes highlights smoked meat from the neighboring Podnah's. An opening menu keeps things simple, with eight tacos (from avocado to brisket, shrimp to chanterelles) and a section for soups and sides (like pork rib tips in a green chile broth; ensalada de nopales; and a Caesar cardini, the menu's most expensive item at $8). Brisket enchiladas arrive in a Tex-Mex chile gravy, while queso fundido can be customized with the diner's choice of chanterelles, chorizo, or roasted green chiles.
As for the bar, Muirhead's remaining mum on the ace bartender he's brought on board, but expect margaritas, mezcal, and two beers available on tap (one Mexican, one local). But he notes that the spot will still be a neighborhood bar, meaning any mixed drinks will be fair game.