Fish tacos put Mercadito on the map. In 2005, New York Magazine picked the colorful restaurant’s crispy fried mahi mahi masterpiece as the best fish taco in the city, and in 2008, legendary Le Bernardin chef and seafood expert Eric Ripert chose Mercadito’s tilapia and tomatillo-garlic mojo taco as his favorite after a tasting tour of top Manhattan taquerias.
Mercadito brings its taco street cred to Las Vegas later this month when it opens at Red Rock Resort, with a second local spot planned for Green Valley Ranch Resort in October. Managing partner Alfredo Sandoval—who runs the company with his brother, chef Patricio Sandoval, and formerly collaborated with older brother and recurring Las Vegas restaurateur Richard Sandoval—says he was only interested in an off-Strip location for his authentic, creative Mexican food.
“The ideas originate with street food, beginning with the traditional and then there’s a twist to it,” Alfredo says. “There’s nothing more pedestrian in Mexico than tacos, but we’re taking them to another level of flavors, textures and combinations.”
There are 12 different tacos on Mercadito’s menu, each with varying fillings and salsas, and the Sandovals never stop tinkering with those fish tacos. “We just came up with a new fish taco this year that’s probably the best we’ve ever had, blackened swordfish with a green tomato coleslaw and habañero aioli,” Alfredo says. Prepare your taste buds.