Vail Village’s global taqueria
El Segundo has an eclectic menu inspired by flavors from around the world
Sugar skull murals, mosaic pendant lights and a vibrant color palette might hint at a modern Baja vibe, but El Segundo in Vail Village defies classification based solely on its festive first impressions.
“I’m always careful to not post us as a Mexican restaurant,” co-owner Dimitri Souvorin said. “I love Mexican food, but we wanted to open a local, family-oriented taqueria more than a Mexican restaurant.”
Souvorin and co-owner Cameron Douglas have accrued decades of experience across the spectrum of the Vail Valley’s restaurant scene, from classic diner food to high-end fine dining, and the menu at El Segundo reflects their varied experiences, with a focus on “cooking things the long way,” Souvorin says.
“We make just about everything from scratch — sauces, salsas; we are soaking our beans overnight and cooking them in the morning,” he said. “It’s fun and lighthearted with fine-dining cooking techniques.”
The menu is full of small plates and hand-held bites that can be mixed and matched to create a feast. The trio of the house-made chips with oven-roasted tomato salsa, chunky guacamole and creamy queso blanco is a good place to start, followed by a selection of El Segundo’s signature tacos.
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Each taco is served a la carte on a 6-inch tortilla, a size up from a traditional street taco, and the options paint a map of the owners’ culinary journey. A stint slinging Lebanese and Greek food inspired Souvorin to create Zorba the Greek, a kofta-style lamb kabob with garlic and fresh herbs wrapped up with tahini, arugula and tomato-cucumber relish.
The Baja-style taco grabs a page from Souvorin and Douglas’s other joint venture, Montauk Seafood Grill, and features lightly battered and crispy-fried wild-caught mahi-mahi, with crunchy cabbage salad, pico de gallo and spicy-smoky Baja sauce. It’s also available as a burrito, with cilantro-lime rice and black beans.
“We stand behind our seafood,” bar manager Matt Hogan said. “Because of our affiliation with our sister restaurant, Montauk, we always have fresh fish on the menu.”
Pair a tray of tacos with an educational flight assembled from more than 100 tequilas and 50 mezcals by one of the restaurant’s expert mixologists, or grab a cocktail made with fresh-squeezed juices and El Segundo’s special edition blend of Maestro Dobel Diamante Cristalino tequila and catch some early-après sun on the sweeping patio.
Souvorin opened El Segundo with Douglas a little more than two years ago — it’s called El Segundo because it’s Douglas’ second restaurant in Vail — but Souvorin says he’s been drawn to the space for years, not only for its prime location but also its convivial layout, with the expansive bar as a focal point and views of Gore Creek through its large picture windows.
“But what really makes this place special is our experienced management team,” he said. “Ron Girotti, our general manager, and Krista Schmidt, our dining room manager, genuinely care about our guests and our team.”
23 Gore Creek Drive, Vail