by Sean Maloney
Episode 7: Taqueria San Luis No.2
Address: 2624 Nolensville Pike
Phone: (615) 254-1010
Sometimes you just have to say, "Screw it, give me the pile of pork." While I rolled in to Taqueria San Luis No. 2 fully intending to just grab a couple of tacos — The Belcourt's Toby Leonard has been saying crazy things like "it's the best al pastor in town" and, well, I trust that dude's taste — I definitely got distracted from my mission by a beast named "Torta de la Barda." And then I was more or less out of commission for the night. Hell, almost 18 hours later I'm still feeling full.
It was a monster of a sandwich, and my wife and I probably should have just split one instead of ordering one each — there's a full sandwich left in our fridge — but hell, you only live once, and if you die consuming a football size portion of pork, you're going out like a champ.
Here's the deal with the Torta de la Barta: It's basically a ham sandwich. A ham sandwich topped with chicharrones in green sauce, cubed ham, refried beans, avocado, tomato, queso fresco and — wait for it — American cheese on a giant roll. I'm pretty sure the American cheese is more for structural support than anything, and the foodie in me wants to deny my love for sliced boiled ham, but bourgie artifice has no place in this column — I'll let the commentors handle that. (I kid!)
The bread was really tasty, light and fluffy but with a crispy crust that provided a nice counterbalance to the chicharrones sloshing around in the middle, the avocado squishing out of the sides and the queso fresco falling everywhere. Did I mention this was a sloppy sandwich? It is. Bring a bib.
While I'm not sure that I would order the Barda again — it's almost too much, even for a glutton like me — I do know that I'll be back a San Luis 2: Pork-a-licious Boogaloo again. This was actually my second trip there since they opened, and both times the food has been spot-on. It did seem that their air conditioner was having trouble keeping up with the massive amounts of sunlight pouring in through their westward-facing plate-glass windows, but, well, whose air conditioner is still in top form after this crazy summer? It's clean, very low key — there's a paucity of decor and all of the furniture is about function rather than flash — and most importantly, they serve beer. Also, the staff are really sweet folks who were very patient while I mangled their native tongue.
Last time I was there I had some really tasty empanadas, and sooner or later I'm going to get around to the much ballyhooed al pastor. I have a feeling I'll be working my way through the entire menu sooner rather than later. Which does seem rather extraneous — I don't REALLY need to put another Mexican place in my rotation — but I am intrigued enough to keep heading back.
I want to know about each and every dish, because what I've had has been spot-on. But for now, I'm just going to try and finish this monster of a torta.