Secret menus are all the rage these days. From Starbucks to Chick-fil-a to everything in between, it feels like more and more restaurants are transitioning to having a menu just for the "in" crowd. Even regional franchises are getting in on the trend, and Bartaco is one of them. Spoon Vandy went to the Nashville location to get the inside scoop on the two must-try secret menu items at Bartaco: the Tuna Poke Bowl and the Braised Short Rib Taco.

The Tuna Poke Bowl

vegetable, dairy product
Kristen Nordham

The tuna poke bowl was a fresh hybrid of ceviche and the trendy poke, and it paid off for Bartaco. The dish consists of fresh yellowfin tuna marinated in soy and sesame and topped with cilantro and flash fried ginger. The poke is served with Bartaco's classic round chips, which make for the perfect contrast of bite in the dish.

The tuna got the seal of approval from both of our tasters, one of whom was an L.A. native with a love for fresh fish. This dish was the perfect size to split between two people as a hearty, healthy appetizer, and the consistency of every ingredient was perfect. 

The Braised Short Rib Taco

cilantro, fish, corn, salsa, lime, tacos
Kristen Nordham

One bite of this taco convinced our tasters that it was one of Bartaco's best taco creations to date. One of our tasters is Texan and praised the quality and flavor of the beef in the taco. The braising method - searing the meat at a high temperature then cooking it low and slow in a pot with liquid - sealed in amazing juices and flavors, and the ancho chile rub added an extra kick without being too spicy.

Pickled onions and fennel added a refreshing tang that contrasted nicely with the savory flavors of the beef. The braised short rib taco is a must-order for any meat lover - get one to complement the rest of your taco order at Bartaco, or order multiple to satisfy a craving for red meat. 

Overall, this secret menu stepped up Bartaco's already stellar menu game, and the items were great both together and separate. Next time you go to Bartaco, hit up a friend and order the tuna poke and "secret" taco to go with your usual order of margs and guac. You won't regret it.