On Thursday I shared with you my recent stay at NYC's Hotel Indigo. During that same trip I had the opportunity to share an incredible meal with my coworkers at a Union Square restaurant called Tortaria.
I had never heard of Tortaria, despite spending a great amount of time in the Union Square neighborhood over the past six years. Admittedly, most of my Union Square stops are for sweets - hot chocolate at Max Brenner, cupcakes at Crumbs or s'mores at Cosi.
Tucked behind the new Whole Foods Market in Union Square is Tortaria.
The inside of the restaurant transports you to Mexico City. You actually forget you're in New York and you let the warmth of Mexico wash over you.
I loved these vintage style posters along the wall where you wait in line to order.
We hopped into said line and wound up behind a regular. He overheard us talking about what to order and gave us a full run down of all of his favorites.
The menu is lit up like an old school theater marquee.
To the right of the counter is the bar area. As you can see, the bar has quite an array of tequila choices!
The dining room is illuminated by tiny, colored light bulbs strung across the ceiling. The far wall is covered in cans, bottles and jars of Mexican cooking ingredients.
My absolute favorite part of the decor was the flower lanyards hanging above the entrance to the front section of the dining room. You really got that warm weather, vacation feeling look at them.
The front section of the dining room faces the street and in the summer time they open all the windows.
We grabbed a table and patiently waited for our number to be called. Once we heard the magic digits we ran up to claim our trays.
The first item we dug into was the paper bag of hot tortilla chips and the generous serving of freshly made house guacamole.
I've had guacamole at countless restaurants (Papagayo in South Boston is still my #1) and this was a definite contender. So fresh and the perfect amount of kick. Also, there is something extra fun about eating chips out of a bag. I can't explain it, but admit it, you agree.
One of the girls ordered the crispy fish tacos which came with two tacos. She said the fish was lightly breaded and crisp. She likes spicy and said these were not, so she covered them in hot sauce. She loved the cabbage in the tacos, particularly the dressing on it. She offered that the portion size was ideal, leaving plenty of room for sides of guac and other goodies.
My other coworker decided on the avocado salad with grilled chicken. Immediately she commented that she couldn't believe how much chicken and perfectly green avocado there was in that one bowl. It's true, it was a very generous serving.
She liked the lim cilantro dressing, but kept biting into a mystery vegetable she couldn't quite identify. Her best guess was a water chestnut, but none of us were convinced.
I ordered the crispy eggplant torta which is a fancy way of saying - a veggie sandwich. It was one part eggplant parm, one part spicy taco. The eggplant was fantastically crisp and the jalapenos and chipotle mayo really took it to the next level. If I lived in NYC, I would order this sandwich every single week.
Though we had clearly ordered enough, one of the girls suggested we order a side of the grilled corn. It came with two halves of corn on the cob, skewered with a wooden stick for easy eating and smothered in cheese. The combination of the cheese with the char from the grill was insanely delicious.
As we devoured the order, my coworker said, "This so good, but can you imagine eating this on a date? Total nightmare." Agree! Ladies, this side dish is not for impressing a man with your manners or daintiness.
When we placed our order I asked for a glass of white wine sangria. They were making a new batch so I didn't receive it until we were nearly done with our meal. I wanted it to be the perfect ending to our fabulous meal, but it was way too sweet and tasted like syrup. Yuck! The ladies both ordered margaritas which they loved, so definitely go that route if you order a boozy drink.
Tortaria was such a fun discovery and incredibly delicious. As the winter cold sets in, head to Tortaria for that taste of sunshine and relaxation. Be sure to try the tortas (sandwiches), the housemade guac and the grilled corn.
Visit Tortaria at 94 University Place in Union Square.