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Last published at August 6, 2009 at 8:31 PM

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Dining Deals

Tako Truk on Eastlake is a street-foodie's dream

Tako Truk in Eastlake, co-owned by former Sitka & Spruce chef Cormac Mahoney, isn't your typical taco truck. Mahoney loves to play with different flavors, showcasing tacos with chicken salad; braised pork belly, topped with pork rinds; and even octopus.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Tako Truk

Mexican/American

2305 Eastlake Ave. E., Seattle

http://takotruk.com

Hours: 6 p.m.-midnight Thursdays-Saturdays, though the Tako Truk often sells out by 10 p.m.

Etc.: Cash only; no obstacles to access; street parking.

Prices: $

Just when you've seen all the different takes on a taco truck, along comes Tako Truk.

Co-owned by former Sitka & Spruce chef Cormac Mahoney, Tako Truk possesses the street-food sensibility of a taco truck without being a truck. It's actually a walk-up, carryout station that opens from about 6 p.m. to midnight — never lunch time like traditional taco trucks.

This Eastlake joint has built a cult following since it opened around Memorial Day. Lines are long and the wait can take up to 30 minutes. Go early; they often sell out by 10 p.m.

The menu: Short and simple. You can get three tacos for $5; options include two meat and one vegetarian. Its specialty taco order (two for $5) usually includes octopus. The menu changes every week.

Mahoney loves to play with different flavors, showcasing comfort food such as chicken salad in a flour tortilla or pairing gourmet fare with junk food — such as braised-beef-brisket tacos topped with crunchy potato sticks.

Sometimes soup, chili or tamales are available, though most foodies focus on tacos.

What to write home about: The Coco Piggy taco has layers of different pork flavors and texture: Coconut- flavored braised pork belly includes skin and fatty bits, topped with pork rinds to provide a nice crunch and saltiness. An impressive and imaginative take.

The octopus taco scares the bejesus out of most patrons, but you should trust it under the hands of Mahoney. It's cooked textbook perfect, firm but not too chewy. The octopus is boiled then sautéed and caramelized with lemon juice. It's topped with a yogurt sauce and parsley.

What to skip: The chickpeas gave the eggplant-curry taco heft, but also overwhelmed the curry.

The setting: Folks eat their tacos on the street and nearby benches. Tako Truk is rented space from 14 Carrot Café (which closes after lunch), with a podium plopped in front of the door to give an illusion of a windowed, takeout joint.

Summing up: Ten tacos and a lime drink totaled $22, enough to feed two to three people. But you better hurry. Tako Truk was meant to be a temporary summer experiment that was supposed to end Sept. 4. But due to its popularity, the owners will try to keep it running at the same or another location.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

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