We like April Bloomfield. My favorite burger in the city is the blue cheese burger at The Spotted Pig and The Breslin reigns as one of ATO’s favorite places to chill and grub in the city. But we might actually like April Bloomfield a little bit less after trying her self-admittedly unauthentic new taqueria in Murray Hill, Salvation Taco (so named because the space previously housed a Salvation Army store). You’ll definitely find no salvation in these tacos…. or any of the food for that matter.
The only saving grace: the food is pretty cheap. Not like taco truck cheap (not like taco truck good either), but definitely a step down price-wise from her other joints. Here’s a spin through a majority of the menu:
Chips and guacamole. Only standard in taste but hard on the wallet at $9 a serving!
Crispy chicken feet. Stingy on substance, full of cartilage and overly-aggressive in flavor.
Tomatillo and jicama salad - simple, bright and fresh. A pleasant break from the abuses of the other dishes.
Crispy pig ears. Appeared to be the same mix used on the crispy chicken feet, but these pig ears were gummier, chewier and quite a mouthful (which ATO preferred to the chicken feet). Expect to find pig ear stuck in your teeth hours after consuming….
Al pastor quesadilla. Tasty and nicely grilled, but nothing to write home about.
Kimchi pork belly pozole. In my opinion, this was the best dish on the menu. Hearty and complex, savory and addictive. The lime added a great crisp finish.
The tacos! From left to right: roasted cauliflower with curried crema, skirt steak with pecan and chipotle and Moroccan lamb on naan. The roasted cauliflower was my personal favorite. The rest were OK but not great.
The torta sandwiches, which all in all were disappointing and suffered from excessive salt, a want of texture and bad bread. Above is the grilled lamb tongue torta. The texture of this sandwich was especially off-putting.
Braised short rib torta. Mushy short ribs and mushy avocado = mushy sandwich.
Confit chicken thigh. Weirdly sweet, but not so bad in the end.
As is readily apparent, it wasn’t for lack of effort that we couldn’t find something on the menu that we really liked. Oh well, checked the box; now off the list forever!
BH, JM, DS, SC, ATO and I were planning another chill weeknight dinner. The only real request was “not The Breslin again.” Fair. This group ends up at The Breslin quite often (see my 2 recent Breslin posts, which were both with this group). It’s just such a cool, chill vibe! But Resto is a good substitute. It’s also got large wooden tables, dim lighting, a great beer and drinks list, a yummy meat-heavy menu and a generally laid-back feel.
I started off with the “good neighbors” cocktail, made with country ham infused bulliet rye, cynar and aperol. While it tasted just fine, there was no hint of ham! I was disappointed (which is rare here). According to SC and JM, there’s a ham-infused drink at PDT which is much better and more aggressive.
As is often the case with this group, we started with the Butcher’s Board, a plate littered with pork liver toast, country pate, Johnston county ham, Merguez sausage, pretzel knodel, crudite, bread & butter pickles and sweet mustard.
We also shared a couple of additional apps, including the deathly-rich deviled eggs served on pork toast and garnished with charred scallions (one bite is deliciously decadent; more than one bite and your stomach may start to turn) and the bitter ballen (fried and breaded veal, pork and gruyere meatballs served with grain mustard aioli - same comment as above). BH, getting annoyed and trying to save time, took the bitter ballen pictures for me. They turned out sub-Photo Hungry! standard (totally blurry and badly composed) and therefore cannot be posted. See BH - I’m not just crazy anal for no reason; this is why I have to take my own pics!!
More meat for the entrees! ATO and JM both ordered the double cut pork chop with mustard greens, carrots and grain mustard. Should have placed a hand next to this hunk of pork to really show perspective. Ridiculously HUGE. Impressively, ATO finished his (and some sides and an entire place of french fries… that’s my boy!). JM didn’t even come close. He swatted BH away when he started picking at the remains and packed his leftovers to bring home to his cat. Lucky cat. Probably now a fat cat. Those leftovers could have fed it for a week!
Above was my much-more-normal-sized half chicken with brioche dumpling, sweet corn, maitake mushrooms and leeks. So many of my favorite ingredients in one dish! Man, a good roast chicken is just so freakin good! Crispy, salty skin and tender, juicy meat. This plate of food was excellent.
But of course the real reason we truly love Resto is for the fries. Thick and crispy double-fried french fries. And for me, the multiple dipping sauces ($1 each) are another huge bonus: lime pickle, mayo & onion, sweet chili, plain mayo, sriracha and gribiche. Divine!