If you work in downtown Fort Worth, chances are you've whined about how there's nothing new for lunch. You get stuck in your Corner Bakery-Picchi Pacchi-Mi Cocina rut, and you think if you eat one more Harvest Salad with chicken, you might stab yourself in the eye with a plastic fork.
So imagine our delight when we heard that Embargo -- a club known for its spicy Latin nightlife -- was going to start serving lunch. This announcement held promise, but would it turn out to be just another blah disappointment? (Lunch service began there on April 1.)
We ventured forth to Embargo's gorgeous space -- all rustic-Havana-cool -- and wondered if we'd made a mistake. We were the only patrons there. Of course, we are prone to late lunches, and we didn't arrive until just before 2 p.m. But, still, shouldn't someone else have been eating here?
Yes, someone should. In fact, a lot of people should. It turns out that our worries about the food were completely unfounded. We're thrilled to tell you that you can move the fork away from your eye and start doing a happy dance.
Embargo's lunch menu is limited, but there was variety enough to please our foursome: tacos, Cuban sandwiches (tortas) and quesadillas, and all come in at $6.95. When you order off the menu board at the register, they don't give you a boring old number to take back to your table; they give you a cool, bent-in-half, rusted-out license plate. Fun touch.
Two of us ordered the Torta Cubana, a scrumptious sammie of ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickle and roast pork loin. (They also offer a Torta Dominicana, which has asada, ham, cheese, grilled onion and chipotle sauce.) The pork loin was sliced perfectly, with a nice seasoned crust around the edges. The pork, ham, cheese and mustard melded together in delicious harmony, especially when sandwiched inside a nicely textured, perfectly pressed French baguette. (One of us went without the pickles, and the other passed on the mustard; if you skip the mustard, consider substituting it with some sauce to get that flavor harmony working.)
The Cubans came in a basket and with a bed of hearty tortilla chips and thin-cut plantain chips, and a side of very fresh salsa.
Our other two diners went for the pork and beef taco plates (Tacos de la Calle), both served in corn tortillas. A garnish of jalapeño-tossed red onions added a dose of crunchy spice to the marinated pork tacos. The marinated beef in the other taco plate managed to pull off a tough trifecta: tender, lean and bursting with juicy flavor. Both taco plates were served with black beans and rice, and the three tacos provided a filling but not overwhelming lunch plate.
Honestly, just thinking about this meal again has our taste buds yearning. We happily have added Embargo to our downtown lunch roster. And considering the light lunchtime traffic, we hope you will, too. Our taste buds would really like to see this lunch option stick around.