A taco success story in Oakland begins a new chapter this weekend as taco chef Dominic Prado opens a brick-and-mortar version of Tacos El Último Baile in the Fruitvale District, in the space formerly occupied by Nyum Bai.
We reported in August that Prado was aiming for an early October opening in the new space at 3340 East 12th Street, and the opening is only barely delayed, happening on Saturday, October 15.
Prado has steadily gained a following for his tacos al carbon, crafting his own salsas and marinades and taking inspiration from his grandmother, who was his first cooking teacher. The name of the business, which translates to "the last dance," is a tribute to her, Prado said, because she always loved to dance. "I spent the last couple years of her life with her, and it occurred to me that it was her last dance," he told Berkeleyside last year.
Prado's mesquite-grilled specialties include his 16-hour smoked brisket, ribeye, and al pastor tacos, and given the buzz around this place, it seems like a sure bet for lines and crowds — kind of like at Nyum Bai before it.
And the modest space with its patio may be an auspicious one — Nyum Bai used it to gain national attention for chef-owner Nite Yun's versions of Cambodian dishes, and it played hosts to crowds of hungry fans for five years before Yun chose to give it up when her lease ended in May. Nyum Bai is still seeking new, larger permanent digs elsewhere.
Prado's tacos have already landed on the Chronicle's list of the best tacos in the East Bay, and was called out for special attention by critic Soleil Ho in the last year.
Prado got his start serving tacos from a table setup outside Oakland's Legionnaire Saloon on weekends in 2016, and eventually he graduated to a trailer that he was parking at the bar up until just recently.
Tacos El Último Baile also makes use of other local products too, including handmade tortillas from two sources: corn tortillas from La Finca, and flour tortillas from Tortillas De Harina MamaCuca.
As Prado told the East Bay Times of his cooking and salsa-making, ""It costs me more to make stuff from scratch, but I think it’s worth it. It’s a good way to respect my people and culture."
The restaurant had a friends-and-family test dinner last weekend, and staff worked on their service "flow," but the real test comes Saturday with the grand opening.
Tacos El Último Baile will be serving from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. only on Saturday, and it's unclear what the future hours will be.
Previously: Popular Oakland Food Truck Tacos El Último Baile to Set Up Shop In Former Nyum Bai Space This Fall