New York has given me the first for many a dining experience so far, and El Toro Blanco is certainly one of them, as never before have I had an empanada or even a taco for that matter. Owners John McDonald & Josh Capon opened El Toro Blanco in October 2012, they aim the take the cliche out of Mexican food bringing modestly priced, seafood-centric contemporary dishes to the diners. Inside there is vintage Spanish posters, matador murals, vintage wooden chairs along with dark wood panelling – the vibe here is generally laid back.
I came here in March and May of 2013.
Bloody Mary’s and Mexican beer are elemental things to kick-off proceedings with a hangover.
Empanada De Costilla – slow roasted short rib, oaxaca cheese, ancho bbq, crema $11. Slow roasted means food nirvana to me and these piping hot empanadas were no exception. The filling flavour was deeply rich and that pastry was fresh from the fryer ‘crispy’. The tanginess of the bbq sauce gives each mouthful balance.
On the left Camarones en Barbacoa – chipotle barbecued gulf shrimp, cumin slaw, roasted tomato, avocado, flour tortilla $12. I can only describe them as 2 bites of deliciousness, the reasons are obvious once you bite into it, the prawns have a subtle charred flavour and cumin with the freshness of the vegetables lifts the dish. To the right we have the Al Pastor – spit roasted Berkshire pork, pasilla negro, roasted pineapple & onion, avocado queso cotija $10. Cubes of quality spiced pork with that deep roasted flavour with all those goodies in a taco? Seriously you couldn’t ask for more.
Baja fish – charred octopus, citrus slaw, avocado, radish, cilantro, jalapeño aioli $12. Squeeze that lime into the tender thick slices of octopus – the soft taco is the perfect vehicle to carry it into your mouth. Wonderful.
Cerviche – lobster, coconut, lime, mango, jicama, habanero, mint $18. It’s rich in flavour from all the components – my first time having a ceviche and I’m pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately it was my least favourite thing to eat, I think the creaminess of the coconut just wasn’t right for my palate.
This time round we came as a 5, fresh off the plane and there is nothing better than to get some sensory lifting flavours in your mouth at El Toro Blanco.
From the top an clockwise Baja fish – charred octopus, citrus slaw, avocado, radish, cilantro, jalapeño aioli $12, Camarones en Barbacoa – chipotle barbecued gulf shrimp, cumin slaw, roasted tomato, avocado, flour tortilla $12, Al Pastor – spit roasted Berkshire pork, pasilla negro, roasted pineapple & onion, avocado queso cotija $10.
When did I go? March 2013/May 2013
The damage: Expect to pay $30-$50 per head with drinks
The good: My intro into Mexican dining is a good one, the food here is definitely ingredient-led as all the dishes I tried were of high quality and fresh. It’s good for groups too and eating here was a quality and fun experience. The must haves are the empanadas and of course don’t leave without eating as many tacos as you can!
The bad: They say it’s moderately priced, but it’s also moderately portioned so you’ll end up racking up the bill if you’re a big eater like me.
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 257 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014 USA
212 645 0193