For Kiyo’s birthday, my mom gave me some money and told me to take Kiyo out for Mexican food (two of her favorite things in the world are guacamole and margaritas). After some research, I chose to take him to Toloache, a place that is much nicer than the taco places we usually frequent for Mexican. The waiter came over and immediately tried to push $13 guacamole and gross, syrupy margaritas on us. Kiyo couldn’t understand him through his thick accent, and would have just nodded and gotten pushed around if I hadn’t been there to slow the waiter down and make it clear that we were in charge of our dinner!
Finally I ordered us cocktails; mine involved hibiscus and was lovely (this was during the summer, so I won’t be able to fully remember everything!).
To start we shared a dish that I didn’t like at all (I don’t remember what it was called, but it was meat, cheese and some sauce piled on top of a tortilla). Kiyo ate my half because he thought it was ok.
The salad we shared was my favorite part of the meal. It included jicama, avocado, mixed greens, orange, radish, and almonds topped with a tamarind vinaigrette. Usually ordering a salad at a restaurant is too boring for my taste, but since this one included jicama, radish and tamarind, three things I love but would never have in my kitchen, I really enjoyed it.
Since I’d never seen cactus on a menu and had never tried it, we ordered the cactus fries. They were squishy and slimy, similar to okra, which I’m not a fan of. Since they were fried they were palatable, and the flavor itself was good but it was difficult to get past the slime.
Lastly, we shared two orders of tacos. I am used to ordering $2 tacos from trucks or small taquerias, so when I saw the taco prices on this menu ranged from $10 to $17, I had high expectations. Kiyo and I traded so we each had one beef and one chicken taco. The tacos were enjoyable, but to be honest, they weren’t any more impressive than the $2 tacos.
Overall, I think I will probably choose fine-dining experiences that aren’t Mexican in the future, since $2 tacos just can’t be beat. Mexican cuisine simply requires great ingredients in tried and trusted combinations, and I don’t think trying to elevate a taco to $17 status will ever end in success. If anyone knows of an upscale Mexican restaurant that will prove me wrong, please share and I will try it with an open mind!
Luckily, I checked in to the restaurant and unlocked a deal, so we each got a free shot of tequila at the end! That definitely took the edge off, and we still had a good night. In case anyone was wondering, this wasn’t on Kiyo’s actual birthday, so the fact that we were less than impressed didn’t ruin his big day!
Address: 251 W. 50th St. New York, NY 10019 Phone: (212) 581-1818