Some restaurants just feel right when you walk in the door. Such is the case for The Social Taco in Rogers. Thanks to Chef Fernando Martinez, the restaurant is quickly gaining fans after opening in February 2016.
Martinez is no stranger to the restaurant business; he has more than 44 years of experience in the industry. He was visiting his daughter, Stephanie Danielle Martinez, in Northwest Arkansas when he fell in love with the area and decided to open The Social Taco with a partner. Martinez has a degree in restaurant and hospitality management from the University of Houston and has run dozens of large and fine dining restaurants, taught at the University of North Texas and been an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts – Dallas.
“Our recipes for great food are simple,” he said. “We use high-quality ingredients and take great pride in our preparation of the dishes we serve. Our tacos and food are made with love.”
The Social Taco is more than a Mexican restaurant, as the menu includes tasty foods from North, South and Central America including crawfish etouffee, hamburgers, fish, steak and a popular brunch on Sundays.
“Since opening, we have adjusted to customer demand,” Martinez said. “We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and really caring about our guests’ dining experience. We are passionate about what we do. We create artisan tacos and hand-crafted pieces of art through our food.”
The Social Taco hosts geographic location specialty menus that have proven very, very popular and have included fare from Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Chicago and Texas. Martinez and his team enjoy preparing the “local” foods for the targeted area, and patrons love the concept.
My first sample of the menu was the Fiesta appetizer, which included freshly cooked corn tortilla chips, queso dip, salsa and guacamole. Of course, each dip is made in house and all are must-tries for dip lovers. The Fried Sweet Plantains are a perfectly prepared treat. My favorite appetizer was the Street Corn that featured roasted corn with lime crema, queso fresco and the restaurant’s Social Hot Sauce. The flavors were amazing, with a creamy texture and a sweet taste with a hint of spicy heat.
The Churrasco Platter had an Argentina-style to it: a grilled 10-ounce sirloin steak served with rice, black beans, guacamole and pico de gallo. The Churrasco sauce married excellently with the steak to deliver a winning combination.
The Social Taco’s seasonal menu included Shrimp Ceviche. The ceviche featured a large amount of Gulf shrimp tossed in fresh citrus juices, jalapeño, green onion and tender avocado chunks with sweet tomatoes and cilantro.
I tried the Mayan Style Taco that was stuffed with slow-roasted pork, pickled red onions, pico de gallo and queso fresco in a warm corn tortilla. Next, I tried the Baja Shrimp Taco that featured fresh, fried Gulf shrimp (blackened is an option), agave-infused slaw, sliced avocado and pico in a corn tortilla.
I went back a few days later to try the Backyard Chicken Taco that has roasted chicken, warm fingerling potatoes, avocado crema, crispy chicken skins and herbs in a warm flour tortilla. And, I tried the Flank Steak Taco that has flame-grilled flank steak, baby bella mushrooms, caramelized onions and Argentinian Chimichurri salsa nestled in a corn tortilla.
An amazing Bananas Foster with vanilla ice cream topped off the meal. Don’t miss this one!
A quote by Martinez on the restaurant’s website reads: “Upon reflection of your life, look deep in the mirror. If you see joy, peace and pride, then you made a difference in all the lives you touched.”