SCITUATE – While Tesoro Latin Kitchen in Scituate is a great place to grab some tacos and a margarita, it’s not your typical Mexican restaurant. In fact, according to owner Robin King, it’s not a Mexican restaurant at all.

“It’s not Mexican; it’s not Colombian; it’s not Peruvian. It’s a little bit of all of that. If you want to come in here, get chips, salsa, guacamole and a margarita, absolutely. You can do that. If you want to try something that perhaps you haven’t seen before, you can do that here.”

Tesoro is all about choosing your own experience when it comes to the food and the atmosphere. Outside, you’ll find a quaint, trellised patio overlooking the ocean, and on the inside, a lively dining room with vibrant custom artwork.

“We couldn’t ask for a better location. I mean, it’s perfect,” Robin said. “We’re right here on the harbor. You get to sit on the patio, listen to music, watch the boats come in.”

Some familiar favorites include appetizers like salsa and guacamole with housemade corn tortilla chips. There are Baja beef sliders with fresh salsa verde and thick-cut bacon, or order up a stack of chipotle barbeque wings. But if you’re in the mood to try something new, the chicharrones are a must-order, made with fried pork belly, mango-papaya puree and pickled chilies.

Chicharrones at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Chicharrones at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“There’s a lot going on in that dish. Definitely not something you see all the time, but guests are blown away,” Robin said.

For main dishes, Tesoro offers its fair-share of tacos, though none of them are quite what you’d expect. Take the fish tacos, for example. Making use of the restaurant’s seaside location, the fish in these tacos is served fresh, not fried, over a crunchy jicama slaw. The fryer is instead reserved for the buttermilk fried chicken tacos with bright corn salsa and creamy avocado ranch.

Robin’s favorite bite has to be the tacos al pastor made with juicy pulled pork and sweet pineapple salsa.

Tacos Al Pastor at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Tacos Al Pastor at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“That is the dish for me. That might be my last dish on this planet. That might be it,” he laughed.

The kitchen brings this same creativity to other entrees, like the rice bowl filled with black beans, salsa roja and crispy tortilla strips.

“The idea behind that came from rice and beans,” explained Robin. “We’ve sort of taken that to the next level. It gets topped off with a little bit of cabbage salad and a tempura-fried avocado. And if you’ve never had a tempura-fried avocado, go home and fry two right now because it is unbelievable.”

Build Your Own Burrito at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Build Your Own Burrito at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

If you’re the one who wants to do the creative work, feel free to order a build-your-own burrito with a side of yucca chips. Just know that no matter what you roll into that tortilla, be it corn salsa or one of those tempura-fried avocados, it will be hard to beat the flavors in Tesoro’s signature shaved steak arepas topped with avocado puree, roasted peppers, caramelized onions and cotija cheese.

“It has all the components of a really good steak and cheese, but the Latin flair is that we have two corn cakes that would act as the bread,” Robin described. “We had one gentleman that came in and said he would learn Spanish just to order that anywhere. I thought that was pretty good.”

Shaved Steak Arepas at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Shaved Steak Arepas at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Though Tesoro is all about choosing your dining experience, whether you’re on the patio or in the pub, eating tacos or arepas, you should never choose to skip dessert, especially when options include chocolate chip plantain bread and vanilla gelato drizzled in salted caramel sauce; and homemade churros served with chili chocolate sauce and cinnamon whipped cream.

“You can’t go wrong with churros,” stated Robin. “I mean, it’s the best fried doughnut tossed in cinnamon and sugar and served with spicy chocolate sauce you could ask for.”

Churros at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Churros at Tesoro (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

While the churro may be everything you ever dreamed of, Robin dreams about delivering a great customer experience, day in and day out.

“You go out to a dining room; you have guests that are happy. The music’s playing. The drinks are flowing. Everyone’s got smiles on their face. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.”

You can find Tesoro at 7 Beaver Dan Road in Scituate, and online at tesorokitchen.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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