Update 11/10/2014: Taco Shop is closed.
Taco Shop: Euro-Mexican salsa & sweets
Not many places have windows that read: “AMSTERDAM COPENHAGEN MADISON” but Taco Shop does. This little hole-in-the-wall hopped the pond as the fifth location of a chain started in Copenhagen a couple of years back with the help of family connections, and it does a good trade bringing in the post-bar crowd. The menu runs a small gamut of the Mexican-American food spectrum, but this ain’t a taqueria in any real sense of the word (cf: chorizo wontons). This place builds dishes that remind you of tacos and burritos, but really are unique creations drawn from the same ingredient pool. Plus, they make salsa which is great in store on their chips or (souvenir alert) in a to-go jar. That they pull all this off with humor and spunk is simply the last fold in the tortilla.
Taco Shop makes its own very fine salsas, which you can buy by the Ball jar. The house salsa is mild with a faint heat and a heavy chili powder flavor. Two other salsas, chipotle and lava, are variations on the same recipe. The heat in the smoky chipotle hits the lips. The lava is smoother, but hotter, with a cheek-flushing spiciness. The salsa verde has a sweet and sour vinegar kick to it. In other words, there’s at least one that’s right for you.
The dessert chimichanga (with or without peanuts) is a playful take on junk food. You may have expected something chocolate deep-fried in a tortilla, and that’s certainly what you get. The dessert is presented as prettily as anything at the county fair or a sit-down Mexican chain, with Hershey's chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and cherry pie filling garnish. Once we figured out what the mystery filling was, we laughed. Hint: the only thing missing is the stick.