Finding a good restaurant in Times Square is harder than getting Rex Ryan to lay off the GODDAMN SNACKS. But people - there’s hope. Deep in the heart of this culinary dead-zone sits Toloache, an upscale Mexican restaurant in the same family as Infatuation favorites Yerba Buena and Yerba Buena Perry. A glowing one star New York Timesreview has solidified Chef Julian Medina as an up-and-coming star. His empire is expanding fast, thanks to an equal emphasis on both the dishes that come out of the kitchen as well as the cocktails that accompany them. Toloache ain’t cheap, but in an area where dropping dollars on grub is a given, it’s a breath of fresh air when the food is legitimately awesome. Also, another Times Square rarity, the crowd of neighborhood regulars that frequents Toloache heavily outweighs the tourists. It’s not a huge space, but they do a lot with what they’ve got, and there’s plenty of bar seating in case you want to swing by on a whim. Let’s replay our recent Friday night: We’re sitting at the bar with a table of cougars to our right, pounding margaritas, eating lobster tacos, and watching A-Rod hit a go-ahead three-run homer with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Life is good. Next time you’re on the hunt for some [perfect_for slug=“pre-theater-eats”]Pre-Theater Eats[/perfect_for] or need a reward for working late at the office, Toloache is the move.
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While the chips are warm and plentiful, we’ll be honest - we weren’t blown away by their traditional guacamole. It was in serious need of some flavor. Next time, we’re getting one of the spicier variations on the menu.
Medina is a master of ceviche, and this hamachi dish catches him at his absolute best. The flavor combinations are incredible - slices of yellowtail are doused in lemon and Huichol salsa. It’s got a nice kick, and the contrast between the warm, lightly fried avocado and cool chunks of cucumber is great. Order this.
De Cabeza Tacos
Served in pairs, make sure you hit the taco portion of the menu hard. True, they’re expensive, but trust us, they’re worth the extra chang. We weren’t brave enough to order the grasshopper tacos this time around, but were more than satisfied with these braised veal cheek tacos. That’s right, baby cow cheeks. These are proof that there is a direct correlation between how cute something is, and how delicious it is.
Spicy lobster tacos with salsa and avocado anyone? Absolutely. These are as good as advertised.
Atun Al Pastor
Adobo-rubbed tuna over a bed of incredibly tasty rice and topped with poblano peppers and onions. The dish reminds us of a delicious Latin version of fried rice, and Medina (much like A-Rod) hits this one out of the park.