I’m not sure how to present the name of this restaurant. It might be The Pass Progressive Cuisine or it might be The Pass, with a descriptive subtitle of Progressive Cuisine. The pass being the surface where the cook passes the plated food to be picked up.
It might be a play on the grammatical term past progressive, at least that’s what I was thinking.
I’m going to go with the name being The Pass and give them a pass on the progressive cuisine part because it really isn’t too.
The Pass is a ghost kitchen tucked away in an industrial warehouse area in Altamonte Springs whose food is available only for takeout or delivery. The menu, once you find it (more on that in a moment), is supposedly Latin American but tends to hover more around Mexico and the southwest with sections for burritos, tacos, quesadillas and....ramen?
The beef empanadas seemed to be one of the more Latin Americanish items. They came in an order of four turnovers, each with a crisp and flaky crust and well seasoned braised beef inside. A not too garlicky aioli was an apt dipper.
For my entree I chose the wet birria burrito, a Volkswagen-sized package of a large flour tortilla filled with stewed meat, white rice, black beans, avocado and chili peppers. It was served with a side container of consomme, the liquid reserved from the stewing, but it becomes a wet burrito when doused with the cheese sauce. (And many thanks that it wasn’t predoused or I would have had a soggy burrito by the time I got it home.) It came with a sack of rather mundane multicolored tortilla chips and a small bit of salsa. But I liked everything inside the burrito.
My dinner companion chose one of the rice bowls, the vegetarian El Camote, with cubed sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, avocado and raw onions, topped with cilantro that probably looked fresh before it was sealed for takeout. Tossed on top of the rice in the foam container (the bowl was just a concept), spooned into the warmed corn tortillas and enjoyed with the side of beans, it made a hearty meatless meal.
Ordering is done through the website, which is heavy on photos (captioned only with the digital camera’s numerical designation) and light on information and directions. Even clicking on the word menus at the top takes you only to pictures. You must click on “order now” to see a menu.
From there it’s fairly intuitive and allows you to change or add items and even to designate a pickup time. One bit of annoyance: after entering your payment information you’ll be asked if you want the credit card number saved. The slide button next to that choice, similar to those you see on smartphones, does not change to green when clicked. So you don’t know if you’ve agreed to have your credit card info stored or opted out.
If you’re picking up the order yourself, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for a small sign next to a dark door. Oh look, it says The Pass in big letters and Progressive Cuisine in smaller, so that’s settled. Behind the door is a dark anteroom with neon signs, color-changing lights and a pickup window. Or pass, if you will.