Earlier this summer we reported that Monica Dimas planned to take over the Olive Way walkup counter previously occupied by Kedai Makan. A few short months later, Kedai is up and running around the corner and Dimas's newly named Tortas Condesa is here and ready to roll out a menu of tortas, Mexico's signature oblong sandwiches, stuffed with meat and veggies and served on toasted buns called bolillos.
Dimas's permanent popup Neon Taco inside Nacho Borracho has a devout fan base (us included) but there are no tacos this time around. The name is a tribute to Condesa, one of Dimas's favorite districts of Mexico City.
We repeat: there are no tacos to be found here. "It's sandwiches all the way," says Dimas, and that goes for dessert as well. Namely a short but enticing list of ice cream sandwiches supplied by local newcomer R&D Ice Cream, including brownies with cayenne chocolate or avocado ice cream, toffee Rice Krispie treats with vanilla ice cream...you get the idea. (Per any Seattle establishment worth its dietary-restrictive salt, there will be gluten free and vegan options.)
Savorywise, there will be a rotation of about six sandwiches with seasonal specials thrown in the mix. Only a few have official names, one being The "Montana," a bison beef sandwich with potatoes and onions, which Dimas describes as "kind of like a sloppy joe." The name is a nod to neodive bar Montana down the street, which will function as a sit-down eating space for the walkup, similar to Neon Taco's arrangement with Nacho Borracho.
Aaron Bloom, the designer responsible for all things aesthetic at Tortas Condesa, says the bright yellow and orange walls glimpsed when placing an order at the counter are a reference to the energetic food truck feel, along with Mexican sign-painting culture. "Updated classic," Bloom calls it.
Tortas Condesa plans to open this Thursday night, October 1, with a launch party over at Montana, where there's actually room to eat. The torta counter will keep similar hours to the bar, aka late nights seven days a week. "We want people to get the idea that you party and drink at Montana and eat here. Order and sit down at Montana, same way Kedai did it," says Dimas. Ordering via text will be an option.
Dimas will make her own horchata; if you want to wash down her tortas with something a little stronger, she recommends Montana's signature Moscow Mule or a light beer—especially helpful for the spicy ones, like the vegetarian Jalapeño, made with toasted onions, fried eggs and cumin mayo. On the menu it (rightfully) bears a flame graphic as fair warning. Tortas Condesa cook Rex Grigg—he refers to himself as a "tortas sculptor"—describes it as "a good sandwich to eat on a dare."
Keep an eye on the Tortas Condesa Facebook page for updated party details. And maybe bring a few extra napkins with you, because there's no pretty way to eat a torta.