With 2021 just a few days old and COVID cases continuing to spike in the Capital Region, the few, brave restaurants that have decided to open this winter all have a common denominator: fast, easy-to-prepare food that customers can take away. That’s just what the doctor ordered at La Capital Tacos, a new taco restaurant and bar launched by Yair De La Rosa, former chef of Schenectady’s Glass Tavern.
The space, which opened on New Year’s Day for takeout only, is housed in a former taxi stand. Across-the-street neighbor, Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen owns the small building and surrounding property—it used the parking lot for its Ferry Street Night Market this last summer—and will be running the bar, says Sunhee’s owner Jinah Kim, while the kitchen will be managed by Chef De La Rosa, a Mexico City native, who has been working in the culinary industry since he was a child (his parents have owned a restaurant in Mexico City since the late 1960s). “I met Jinah through the Troy Farmers’ Market last year,” says De La Rosa, whom Saratogians will also be familiar with, as he set up at the Spa City Farmers’ Market for the first time last summer. Kim and De La Rosa started hatching a plan to open La Capital in December 2019, with renovations taking place on the old taxi stand through late fall (it needed to be retrofitted with a kitchen).
Of course, La Capital’s menu is armed to the teeth with tacos, filled with meats such as carne asada (grilled New York strip steak), alpastor (marinated pork) and chorizo (Mexican sausage). There is also a single meatless taco entry, Calabacitas, which features yellow squash, zucchini and pico de gallo. Orders come in a trio of forms: three for $10; three for $12 (orders come with cheese, guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo and salsa on the side); or the “family platter,” 20 tacos for $35, with assorted offerings. “My concept is to do Mexico City–style food,” says De La Rosa. “I’m using authentic Mexican ingredients and recipes to create simple tacos, the way they’re served in Mexico, focusing on the meat, tortilla and salsa. Not Tex-Mex or fusion.”
La Capital’s menu also includes an array of quesadillas, filled with La Capital’s signature taco fillings, as well as a few seafood offerings, with beer-battered fish as the protein. There’s also a standalone ceviche dish (fish cooked in lime and topped with onion, avocado, and jalapeño).
While La Capital is currently open for takeout only, De La Rosa did say that five to eight customers can be seated at the bar. La Capital is open Tuesday–Saturday, from 11am–8pm.