Smoke from the Eagle Creek fire may be clogging the Portland skyline, but the Portland restaurant industry charges on.
The fifth restaurant by the Urban Restaurant Group (Brix Tavern, Bartini), Carlita's: Tacos, Tequila, and Whiskey will throw open the doors on September 18, with two charity-focused preview dinners on September 13 and September 14 (tickets are now available). The 80-seat Carlita’s takes over the former Streetcar Bistro & Taproom, at 1101 NW Northrup St.
The menus have evolved since word broke in February. Carlita’s says Southwestern tacos and street food are the main inspirations, and the menu has eight taco options and four ceviches, with additional sopas, ensaladas, tortados, and street food-style sides, like chicharones and wood-grilled corn with house aioli and cotija cheese.
The dishes feature deluxe meats and seafood, like Alaskan halibut confit as a taco filling. Soft-shell tacos also come stuffed with Carlton farms pork belly or beef short rib, the latter with ancho chili, braised garlic, green mole, onion radish salad, and chipotle crema. Tacos run $4 apiece or three for $10.
While Carlita’s hones its margaritas made with house infusions, the final touches are being added to the dining room, which has around 300 whiskies, tequilas, and other spirits lining the walls for a speakeasy vibe. Carlita's will begin serving dinner nightly on September 18.