4

Modern Tortilla Food Truck Serves Handmade Tortillas and Build-Your-Own Tacos

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

You might think that in Phoenix, it would be hard for a new taco truck to get its footing. But the ubiquity of the taco in metro Phoenix has not deterred Modern Tortilla food-truck owner and head chef Tom D'Ambrosio from achieving success.

Some may recognize D'Ambrosio as the owner of the award-winning Aioli Burger truck. He opened the second mobile eatery, Modern Tortilla, with partner Kyle Hollenbeck back in January. 

"There are a lot of taco trucks in Arizona, but we wanted to do something different," Hollenbeck says. 

D'Ambrosio places a significant emphasis on hand-making everything he can. This means, most notably, that Modern Tortilla's corn tortillas are made from scratch. Even the masa is homemade offsite in D'Ambrosio's kitchen. 

And it's not just a gimmick. The tortillas are seriously good, and they're not plain. Along with a standard corn tortilla, the truck also offers both chipotle and lime-scented, cilantro-infused varieties. With these, the added flavors are subtle and make a nice complement to the truck's taco fillings.

For $8, diners can get two tacos with three toppings each, as well as a side. For each taco, Modern Tortilla offers a choice of three tortilla types, any of four meats (pork pastor, chicken cochinita pibil, beef skirt steak, or lime-scented cod), and any three of its 21 toppings, which range from chicharons to pickled mustard seeds. This means there are hundreds of potential tacos to be had from a single truck. We didn't try them all, but the three we tried were excellent.

First came the Modern Myan, with a chipotle tortilla, pork pastor, avocado, pickled red onion, and cotija cheese. The slight smokiness of the tortilla worked well with the sourness of the onions and the sweetness of the pork. Next, we tried El Ranchero, made with skirt steak, crema, salsa fresca, and shredded lettuce on a plain corn tortilla. This was admittedly a little less impressive than our first taco, but the richness of the steak was impressive, and the traditional tortilla really shined. Our final taco was the Caribbean — a cilantro-lime tortilla around lime-scented cod, mango salsa, shredded lettuce, and roasted corn. The cod was perfectly moist, with just a little char, and worked well with the smokiness of the corn and the sweetness of the salsa. 

"The ingredients are the most important part, not the tortilla flavors," Hollenbeck says. 

Finally, we tried an order of homemade churros with dulce de leche and an excellent homemade flan. The churros were sweet and airy, with a satisfying crunch, and the flan was both delicate and well-balanced. 

We also tried Modern Tortilla's elote, a Mexican street-food staple consisting of grilled corn on the cob and a variety of condiments. Modern Tortilla tops its elote with fresh lime juice, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and paprika — and it's damn good. In fact, the elote serves as a perfect example of what to expect on the the Modern Tortilla menu: solid street food that does enough to be different without entirely detracting from a tried-and-true formula. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.