It’s time to get ready for a Mexican fiesta, Buffalo. Chef Richard Hamilton’s Deep South Taco is opening for lunch on Thursday. I stopped in moments ago to check out the scene, which was surprisingly cool, calm and collected, considering that the team is just hours away from opening. Richard was preparing for a staff meal, but was gracious enough to show me around, since the last time that I stopped by, there were still pieces of the puzzle waiting to come together.
If there’s one thing that I can say about Richard Hamilton, it’s that he’s a perfectionist. From the food to the lighting to the sound to the overall experience. For him, eating lunch or dinner at Deep South Taco is an experience. It’s part of his cosmetic/cosmic makeup. If the lighting is off, the experience is off. “The workers asked if I really needed all of these lights,” explained Richard. “Yes, I need all of these lights. And you can see why.” Personally, I’m a lighting freak and I love the lighting at this restaurant. It’s all color controlled by Richard’s phone – something that every restaurant should have, but very few do.
Tomorrow morning the projector gets installed – one of the finishing touches on the restaurant. The outdoor video shows will fire up Thursday evening. The restored McIntosh stereo component system, with dual decks looks sharp and is considered a piece of the theatrics. The shiny tap system floats from the ceiling as if submarine periscopes looking out over the bar. The radiant heat patio floor kicks on tomorrow. The overhead heating units are already cranking out toastiness throughout the restaurant – even the heaters emit a soft flame-like light that contributes to the lighting factor.
Outside, the larger than life Deep South Taco sign is emblazoned upon the building, with fiery South of the Border flair. The spinning Lucha Libre mask is yet to come, but you wouldn’t miss it if you didn’t know that it was part of the show. Thematic accents abound, with over the top signage (yet tasteful), brightly accented tables, strings of lights hanging across the patio, vibrant yellow garage doors, and a wide window onto the world of the cooking operation.
Speaking of cooking, I was afforded the opportunity to try some of the menu items a couple of nights ago and can say one thing: Mexican Street Corn! OMG, everyone needs to try Richard’s rendition of this Mexican roadside favorite – it will knock your calcetines off. The signature house margueritas flow through the tap system from above, which is simply brilliant. The house made chips are unlike any other chip in Buffalo (super tasty on their own), and the guac is exceptional. All of the tacos that I tried each have a unique flavor profile that warrants ordering up a medley on a plate. The prices are extremely reasonable. The service should be quick (orders taken on tablets and sent directly to the kitchen), and the bar already appears vibrantly lively… even without the masses sitting around eating and drinking.
Deep South Taco is a beacon of light that sits in a part of town that is finally starting to see some real action. Down the street is Tappo, Big Ditch Brewery, Oshun, Marble & Rye, and a number of other quality restaurants. It’s so exciting seeing Richard’s vision coming to reality. This is a big boost for downtown Buffalo. Mexican fare lovers, please starts your engines. Deep South Taco is bringing the border to Buffalo – all you have to do is show up for the fiesta.