The portions are a little too big. That’s the only complaint I can manage after three trips to TexiKo Tequila Bar in Hamden. If I really try, maybe I can scrounge up another. How about this? I want to order something I haven’t tried, but what I’ve had is so good I want to eat it again. I’m a complainer by nature, but Mike Farber and his people make it difficult for me to act naturally at this Tex-Mex triumph.
A little over a year ago, TexiKo took over the cozy spot vacated by popular craft beer bar MiKro, also a Farber creation, in a strip mall right off the Mount Carmel Connector on Whitney Avenue. After eight years at that location, MiKro moved a mile up the street to an old railroad depot on the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and doubled its capacity. It wouldn’t be surprising if TexiKo faces a similar future.
Simply put, TexiKo has killer smoked barbecue, a housemade assortment of regional sauces, and dynamite Mexican cuisine that incorporates both. Wash it all down with a Connecticut-dominated craft beer list, a draft margarita and enough tequila to make Sammy Hagar sing. (Farber calls himself “a habitual collector of tequila for the last 20 years or so.”)
Most emblematic of what TexiKo is all about is the smoke plate ($18) — sliced brisket, pulled pork, chicken thighs, pinto beans, rice, Texas slaw and Texas toast accompanied by three sauces in the style of North Carolina (chipotle, vinegar), South Carolina (mustard seed, vinegar), and Texas (brown sugar, cayenne, molasses). Each meat pairs beautifully with each sauce and you’d be hard-pressed to declare a favorite.
On the Mex side of things are tacos ($13) and burritos ($14), with the same meat options as the smoke plate in addition to vegetables or mahi-mahi. “There’s nothing better than a nice smoked piece of brisket inside a taco shell,” Farber says. Colombian-style arepas ($16) are made with a special masa by a guy Farber hired away from an arepa truck.
There’s even a nod to Canada with the smoky TexiKo poutine ($12) served with a choice of meat, hand-cut fries dredged in dry rub, gouda, chicken gravy, and chicken skins. The smoked, crisp-fried skins are also available as a side ($5) and are one of the hottest-selling items on the menu, according to Farber. Also delivering the goods on the app front are delectable pork belly bites ($10) tossed in N.C. sauce and huevos diablos ($6), TexiKo’s sinful take on deviled eggs.
From the housemade corn tortillas and salsa you get when you sit down to the sweet crème brûlée ($8) that caps a beyond-satisfying meal — in addition to friendly, knowledgeable, top-notch service — TexiKo checks every box, especially the smoke box.
TexiKo Tequila Bar
3000 Whitney Ave., Hamden
Hours: Tue.-Thu. & Sun 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4-10 p.m. Closed Mon.