Chef Jason Tuley is killing it. Already known for its outstanding ingredient- and technique-driven menu and stacked roster of talent in both the front and back of the house, the eight-month-old Anchor Woodfire Kitchen currently boasts the hottest tables in town. It’s a triumphant return for the S.B. local, who has done stints in L.A. and San Francisco and helmed the long-ago S.B. restaurant Square One. But Tuley has other tricks up his sleeve. Namely: tacos.
Yep, after multiple conversations over recent months, I can confidently report that Tuley is at least medium-obsessed with the humble street food. And, while he sorts out plans for a permanent concept on the taco tip, he’s getting into the Fiesta spirit, and turning Anchor into a Mexican pop-up restaurant called La Ancla this weekend.
But don’t let the “pop-up” label fool you: This concept has danced in Tuley’s head for years.
“As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to open a small taquería using locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients,” said Tuley. “La Ancla was born even before Anchor was a reality, but had to be put on hold for a couple of years. The La Ancla menu has been written for over a year, and Fiesta seemed like the perfect time to introduce our customers to our approach to one of our favorite foods — tacos.”
I scored a sneak peek at the menu: It’s in no way limited to tacos and is clearly the product of mucho R&D. The guacamoles, ceviches, and tacos are listed along with the region of Mexico that lent the flavor inspiration but star plenty of area bounty, and — as one familiar with Tuley’s perspective might expect — shoot for that trademark balance of simplicity and sophistication.
Expect Fiesta-inspired tunes, beer and tequila tastings, and a cocktail special dubbed the Hot Tamale; the guys might even don sombreros (we’ll see about that… Anchor does traffic in a lot of open flame). And their new patio will offer plenty of al fresco space in which to get your viva on.
Check out Anchor’s taco-licious alter ego this Friday- Sunday, August 2-4,11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.