Montauk's La Brisa is a muy caliente offshoot of Tacombi at Fonda Nolita, serving delicious tacos, sweet Mexican sodas, and delightful cocktails. We recently interviewed founder Dario Wolos about his background in Mexican food and what he likes about the Hamptons.
What's your favorite taco?
My favorite taco is the chicken mole taco, our newest taco.
Why did you decide to bring taco culture, which is more of a street food thing, as opposed to other kinds of Mexican food, to the U.S.?
I think Mexican food in general, in the United States, still has a lot to explore. I grew up in Mexico with old-style Mexican cooking from my mother and her family's traditions. When I was young I was lucky to travel between Mexico and the United States quite a bit. I saw that only a small portion of our culinary traditions were being brought to the United States. A couple of items were picked to represent Mexican food in the United States. I could see that so much that what I was familiar with in Mexico was not present in the U.S. I noticed as the years went by how much friends and business associates from other countries enjoyed Mexican food the way we did at home or the way we did in the countryside or the streets of the city. Because I love Mexican food and culture so much, I figured the best way to kind of reintroduce Mexican food was by tackling it at its simplest point--the taco. People of all types at all levels enjoy this simplest Mexican tradition.
How are the Hamptons different in terms of food preference from your city location?
In Montauk, we have access to the docks literally a few kilometers away. Fresh fish is totally a game changer for us. Mexico has an amazing seafood tradition with the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean coast and the Pacific north and the Pacific south--there's so much variety. So we really wanted to bring some of those traditions to the Hamptons. We also get more of a family environment than in the city. Things in the city move at a very fast pace; Mexico's not that fast either. In the Hamptons there's a lot more families, there's a lot more people coming to enjoy things at a slower pace, like in Mexico.
Do you actually go to the Hamptons yourself much?
I'm pretty much there half the time, and as time progresses I'm here more and more.
What's your favorite thing about the Hamptons?
Did you grow up near the water in Mexico?
No, I grew up in a city called Monterrey, which is about two hours from the ocean. I've always loved the sea as long as I can remember. I also like the energy in the Hamptons as well. The people are very friendly: every type of person that I've met in the process of opening La Brisa, from local fishermen; to the people in the Chamber of Commerce; to Jack Luber, our local business partner; all have a very nice vibe.