¡Ay, caramba! Don’t Look Back, the beloved Carytown taqueria, was taken from us far too soon by a 2017 fire. The good news? Like the proverbial phoenix, it rose — and landed on West Broad Street in May. The new location comes with a slightly revised name, Don’t Look Back Triple, honoring the building’s former resident, the Triple pool hall.
Don’t Look Back Triple opened for business anew with the same basic menu supplemented with some minor additions. On two recent visits, the place was busy (dinner) and somewhat busy (lunch, with a hurricane on the way), and its locally famous tacos were (no surprise) the obvious winner.
Don’t Look Back Triple offers 11 tacos in either gringo style (cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa) or traditional (cilantro, red onion and lime). The Carnitas taco ($3.50) was deeply flavorful, with braised pork crisped on the grill. The Pulled Chicken ($3.50) featured roasted and stewed chicken; the Shredded Beef ($3.25) was filled with slow-cooked beef flavored with spicy red chile. The Portabella ($3), marinated in poblano vinaigrette, had a meaty texture and flavor that should appeal to vegetarians.
In the non-taco portion of the menu, the Frito Pie ($5) combined pinto beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream and lettuce in a clever presentation: a bag of Fritos corn chips. The Enchilada ($8) was served “stacked” on corn tortillas with cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa; it was a little bland, but the beef we added ($2 extra) amped up the flavor.
The Fistful of Taquitos (three for $6), which arrived nice and hot, were crispy and flavorful. The Santa Fe Salad ($5) was filled with texture: romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, roasted red peppers and fried corn tortillas dressed in an avocado vinaigrette.
I’ll also mention the Chips and Salsa (a la carte for $2.50) since my guest and I had identical thoughts about them. First, they weren’t served warm, which is always nice. Second, we wished that the chips — which are purchased from a local purveyor and then fried in house — had been a little more delicate and a little less coarse.
If you’re a late-night craving kind of person, you’ve found your spot: Don’t Look Back Triple serves its full menu until 10 p.m. and its tacos until 1 a.m. ahead of its 2 a.m. closing. You can wash those tacos down with a cocktail or some tequila — the list is extensive — from the full bar. There’s also a rotating selection of draft beers as well as canned and bottled options. Happy hour takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; on Thursdays, it’s generously extended until 9 p.m.
Don’t Look Back Triple is the brainchild of the creators of the original: Nate Gutierrez, who previously owned Nate’s Taco Truck, and Hamooda Shami, who’s opened several Carytown restaurants, including New York Deli. Their new space is three times larger than the old, and includes the dining room/bar area and pool table/lounge area.
The welcome news for Richmonders happy to have the quirky charm of Don’t Look Back … well, back … is that there’s yet another iteration on the way. The owners plan to spread the love to the city’s South Side with a Forest Hill Avenue location opening sometime in October.