Chef Josh Capon’s El Toro Blanco takes me back to the fresh flavors of authentic Mexican food I experienced in Southern California.
Traveling back and forth between New York City and Southern California, I have gotten quite accustomed to good Mexican food in SoCal, and El Toro Blanco did not disappoint.
Located in the charming West Village district, El Toro Blanco offers entrees with a coastal influence where you will find dishes flavored with avocado, chipotle, lime and other fresh flavors. This is what makes Mexican food so authentic.
As you walk in, to your right is a guacamole bar and straight ahead is an extensive tequila bar.
If you are looking for quality Mexican food in a fun, casual, yet trendy setting, El Toro Blanco is your place. This place was PACKED on a Friday night.
Cocktails & Starter
Cucumber Margarita: Light and refreshing, almost had a hint of rose which was lovely. A favorite.
Spicy Margarita: Classic margarita with a jalapeno kick, excellent. A favorite.
Fresh Guacamole: The guacamole was served with warm chips and a trio of salsas. I ordered the mild guacamole which turned out to be slightly spicy and I didn’t mind at all. Flavored perfectly. The trio of salsas were amazing too, my favorite being the chipotle flavored red salsa. A favorite.
Shrimp Ceviche: Shrimp prepared with tomato, lime, cilantro, avocado, jalapeno and onions. The ceviche tasted more like salsa and less like ceviche. It lacked that freshness, citrus flavor I was looking for and tasted sweet.
Tacos De La Casa (ordered a la carte)
Camarones en Barbacoa/Gulf Shrimp (left two tacos): The chipotle barbecued shrimp tacos were stuffed with roasted tomato, avocado and aioli. These tacos were one of the best I’ve ever had, not spicy at all, yet so flavorsome. A favorite.
Grilled Swordfish (3rd taco from left): The incredible swordfish tacos flavored with jalapeno, avocado, and aioli were on the healthier side and grilled to perfection. A favorite.
Crispy Cod (taco on right): To my disappointment, the crispy cod taco lacked flavor and just tasted oily and crispy. It didn’t have that traditional beer-battered fish taco flavor I so love.
Empanada De Costilla/Short-Rib Empanadas (top): Slow roasted short rib with oaxaca cheese, ancho bbq, and crema. Can I just say how much I am starting to love short ribs, though I only eat them once in a while when dining out. El Toro Blanco’s Short Rib Empanadas are simply out of this world. The exterior is flaky and stuffed with tender short rib meat and mildly flavored oaxaca cheese. The barbecue sauce on the side was slightly sweet and spicy. Just magical. A favorite.
Oaxaqueno Tamale/Chicken (bottom): Chicken tamale topped with red mole sauce, queso cotija and crema. To begin with, I was thrilled to see tamales on a menu at a Mexican restaurant, it’s not that common. The mole sauce was sensational, perfectly made with that chocolate flavor and just a hint of sweetness. On the other hand, the spicy chicken tamales itself were a quite dry.
Enchiladas de la Casa/Chicken Enchiladas: Chicken Enchiladas topped with salsa verde, creme fresca, and queso cotija. The shredded chicken was cooked perfectly, but it was rather bland. On the contrary, the salsa verde sauce was absolute perfection. This dish would have been outstanding had the chicken been more flavored.
Mexican Sweet Corn: When you are eating fresh corn that has been sliced off the cob, you know it’s gonna be good. The chipotle flavored grilled corn had a kick to it and with a little creaminess. This right here is one of the best Mexican Street Corn I have had and comparable to Mexican street corn I’ve had in SoCal. A favorite.
Cinnamon & Sugar Churros: The churros arrived piping hot, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The dark chocolate sauce was a little bitter and complemented the churros impeccably. The caramel sauce was a little too sweet for my taste, but still good. A favorite.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: El Toro Blanco
FAVORITES: Cucumber Margarita | Spicy Margarita | Fresh Guacamole | Gulf Shrimp Tacos | Grilled Swordfish Tacos | Short-Rib Empanadas | Mexican Street Corn | Cinnamon & Sugar Churros
VERDICT: 4.25 / 5
There is a shortage of good Mexican restaurants in New York City, El Toro Blanco is not one of them. There are many more items I would have loved to try at El Toro Blanco such as the Tostada Chopped Salad, Tuna Ceviche, and Seared Salmon, but I’ll need another trip to this excellent Mexican restaurant. If I had to think of one item that I am still dreaming about, it would be the Mexican Street Corn. The corn was as good as the one I had in Southern California, and that’s saying a lot. This is one Mexican place I will be recommending to my friends and anyone who wants solid Mexican in Manhattan. Highly recommended.
Food: Very Good| Drinks: Excellent | Décor: Trendy/Casual | Service: Friendly/Attentive |Value: Fair
What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant in NYC? What’s your favorite Mexican dish?