You will never see this taco in the daylight. Kyle Araishi fires up the grill at about 10 p.m. and keeps it going through the wee hours, keeping the dance floor hot and smoky at La Cocina.
Even in the dark you can see that these are serious bar bites: grilled on real mesquite wood and sent directly to your mouth before the night air fades away that beautiful char. They can be splashy numbers dolled up with cilantro and shredded red cabbage. But tonight they were also doing Korean BBQ tacos, a hybrid popularized by the Kogi food truck in Los Angeles.
The beef on my taco had been trimmed from a brisket cut and then tenderized with a marinade that includes orange juice, Tamari and various spices. After it came off the grill, Kyle threw on a slab of Korean kimchi he'd gotten from Grantstone Supermarket, then a tower of crispy onion rings and chopped cilantro. Sweetness, tempered by the funky fermented cabbage and that sharp flavor of the smoky mesquite wood. Ironically, it was some of the most authentic carne asada I've ever had.
Insider's tip: Korean tacos are only on the menu every couple months, but Kyle usually does some kind of weekly taco special like Hawaiian or chimichurri. Plus, there's always the LaCo dog, a Sonoran hot dog with some chipotle sauce and more.
Location: 201 N. Court Ave.
Hours: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays
Payment: accepts debit and credit cards, at the bar