Sunday, October 12, 2008

There's a Grasshopper in my Taco. Toloache

Toloache (toh-lo-AH-tchay) 251 W. 50th Street (bet. 8th and B'way Aves.)

When you walk into this midtown eatery, you quickly realize this is not your ordinary Theater District fare. The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting, as are the wonderful smells enticing your olfactory senses to sit and stay awhile. The d├ęcor invokes a small artisan town with hand-painted tiles and elegant silver lanterns. The bar boasts over a hundred types of tequila 
and makes exciting and interesting mojitos, like mango, and creative cocktails, like the Kumquat. After ordering a margarita, sangria or other drink of choice, the time comes to move onto the menu which feels like a tour through Mexico, with an inventive worldly spin. The guacamole trio is a must, which is a sampling of the house guacamoles; one traditional, one spicy with chipotle peppers, and one sweet with pomegranate seeds, peaches and Thai basil. Some may be skeptical of pomegranate seeds and avocado, but it is an excellent and unexpected combo. After so many delectable starters, I like to stick to the tacos for my entree. Toloache has a large selection to accommodate most tastes, from lobster to the Oaxacan favorite, dried grasshopper. My usual is the Negra Modelo-braised brisket with tomatillo salsa and horseradish cream, a great dish any day of the week. I don't normally gravitate toward tilapia on any menu, but the Baja-style tilapia tacos with spicy jicama slaw and guacamole proved too tempting. When I tell you they were some of the best fish tacos I have had, I am being modest. The fish was tender and the slaw was flavorful, coming together to make the perfect fish taco. With friends at my side, we rounded this meal out with a side of cactus fries and rice & beans with sweet plantains (all delicious). The cactus, dusted in blue corn meal and deep fried, is something you don't see too often which makes it an even more interesting and delicious accompaniment. Being from Texas, Mexican food, whether it is Tex-Mex or authentic, is my favorite cuisine. I am going to go out on a limb and say Toloache served me the BEST Mexican food I have ever had. Chef Julian Medina has successfully married his Mexican heritage and French culinary technique into a great restaurant with big flavors.

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Written by Jeremy Hargrove


Pam said...

Great article! My mouth was watering as I read. I'd love to try this eatery the next time I'm in NY - but I'll pass on the gresshopper!


Laura Guetti said...

Hi guys! Great write up. Did you know Chef Julian Medina went to FCI? Also, he was in MY class in 1999! He was a great student and even won best project. I remember leaning on him many times including asking him to sharpen my knife in Level One. He was good at everything from the very beginning and was a pleasure to have as a classmate. It's nice to see how successful he's become. -Chef Laura

teyana said...

I'm a little late in reading this, but I'm SO looking forward to going to this restaurant on my next visit to NY! It was very well described and has left me hungry!