Monica Dimas has been described as an up-and-coming presence in Seattle's food scene for what...five years now? She has cooked at Spinasse, Le Pichet, Monsoon, and most recently Ethan Stowell's Mkt. Last month she put on a weekend brunch popup called Communion lauded for both its hangover-curing properties and its posole.
Now Dimas is—finally—getting her own kitchen. Though the dining room is another matter. She's taking over the kitchen at Broadway nouveau dive Nacho Borracho, turning it into her own Mexican street food operation. The name is TBD, though she says she has already ruled out one suggestion of Taquito Frito for fear of rhyming overload.
Nacho owners Kate Opatz and Rachel Marshall say the arrangement will be similar to the one Kedai Makan has with their original bar, Montana. Dimas will make food for Nacho Borracho patrons, but basically run her own takeout window from the bar's kitchen.
When Marshall and Opatz approached Dimas about the arrangement, they asked that she keep nachos on the menu--a logical request considering the bar's name, and all the signage that's shaped like a nacho chip. The decision to keep the totchos and queso on the menu was all Dimas.
Her menu will take its cues from Mexican street food, not too fancy and definitely bar appropriate. She's thinking pork belly chicharrones, gorditas with handmade tortillas, tacos with rotating fillings, and Dimas's mother's flautas...the sorts of foods she grew up with, though has never had a chance to cook professionally. Weekends will be about what Dimas calls "longer-form dishes" like tripe or tamales. Game days mean Mexican wings cooked on the plancha, while Thanksgiving could bring turkey mole. And yes, there's talk of brunch on the horizon.
"Neither Rachel nor I are cooks," says Opatz of their somewhat unusual approach to feeding patrons. This arrangement theoretically ups Nacho's food game, and lets Opatz and Marshall focus on what they really love—drinks. They're already planning some bar changes at Nacho, like a frozen White Russian and more frozen Moscow mule flavors.
Dimas and her menu debut February 1 (she's also engineering the fry menu at Marshall's upcoming RGB 12th Ave). Both takeout and bar customers will order at the big new walkup window being installed in the room's rear wall.