First-time restaurateur and local Orange County chef, Zach Ficke, is gearing up to open Salt and Lime Modern Taqueria – an innovative and chef-driven concept with an atmosphere that evokes the Caribbean coastal city of Tulum – this August at 350 E 17th St in Costa Mesa.
“Salt and Lime Modern Taqueria is kind of a play on the iconic idea of tacos, so being chef-driven all the fillings of our tacos are contrasting textures and complementing flavors, but they’re not our traditional tacos like carne asada or carnitas,” Ficke tells What Now Orange County.
Instead, Ficke’s menu will feature cold-smoked proteins such as grilled rib-eye and grilled salmon tacos, as well as some vegetarian options like a mushroom confit taco, each of which will be garnished with various slaws, salsas, or salads dressed with vinaigrettes, striking the perfect balance of acids, fats, textures, and spiciness.
“It’s a simple but focused menu,” says Ficke. “I have about 10 taco options and then I’m going to have non-taco items as well that focus on local and seasonal ingredients,” including esquites – or grilled corn – Mexican Caesar salad, watermelon salad, and other dishes that are “on the lighter side.”
Meanwhile, Salt and Lime Modern Taqueria’s beverage program will include two signature batch-made margaritas, as well as four specialty seasonal drinks – think toasted coconut margarita, spicy mango margarita, and pressed watermelon margarita – alongside beer and wine.
With room for about 128 guests, the dining areas will be split between a main indoor room, a mezzanine, and a patio. “We’re are planning on opening in August,” says Ficke. “We are off 17th Street in Costa Mesa, so we’re trying to catch some of that end-of-summer crowd.”