After so many excellent meals at The Spotted Pig in the West Village, and the Breslin and John Dory Oyster Bar at the Ace Hotel in the newly-christened NoMad, I’d follow Chef April Bloomfield and her partner-in-divine Ken Friedman just about anywhere. Even, it seems, to a nondescript, scaffold-laden block in Murray Hill. On a freezing cold night. To eat pig ears. And be loving every minute of it.
Yes, as I’m sure you know by now, Bloomfield’s most recent joint is called Salvation Taco, it opened late last December just off the futuristic lobby of the Pod Hotel, and clearly I’m not alone in my devotion to the woman’s explosively flavored, nose-to-tail cooking, as the place, on a random Wednesday evening, was jumping.
Salvation Taco is More Mexican-inspired than Mexican–and that’s a Good Thing
Despite its name, and the predominance of the eponymous concoctions on the menu, April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco isn’t really a Mexican restaurant in any sort of authentic way. More like: Mexican inspired, down to its over-the-top, kitschy decor. Which, considering the tasty treats coming out of the kitchen, is fine by me.
Take the taco section of the Salvation Taco menu. Yes, there’s an Al Pastor on offer here (that’s the spicy pork and pineapple beauty that’s my usual go-to at places like Fonda Nolita), and Bloomfield’s Fried Fish with “Mayan” Mayo is likely to give the city’s best version, at Rockaway Taco, a run for its money. But the trio of awesomeness that I devoured on this night had little in common with anything I’ve seen at other Mexican(-ish) spots.
The Menu is Full of Delicious Choices at Salvation Taco
The Moroccan Lamb on Naan, for example, was wonderfully intense and juicy, but wasn’t a “taco” in any real way other than its shape, and even that, not really. But order it, because it’s great. Also great was the Crispy Sweetbread with Chickpeas taco, featuring a huge portion of tender, amped-up offal for only four bucks. And the Roasted Cauliflower with Curried Crema was as rich and satisfying as my meat-laden treats.
Speaking of meaty: the required starter at Salvation Taco is Bloomfield’s Pig Ears. More than just first-rate dare food–though there is that–these three crunchy/sticky/spicy/salty/sweet pig pieces deliver everything you want in a bar snack.
My only disappointment at Salvation Taco was the Roasted Pumpkin Poblano Salad, which was undone by the unripeness of the main attraction. All in all, however, and especially considering the lively, loungey, fiesta-like atmosphere (clearly this place is a big hit with the drinks-after-work crowd), Salvation Taco is a must for Bloomfield fans.
Salavation Taco is located on 39th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, off the lobby of the Pod Hotel. Salavation Taco is open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. every day, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Get more info and look at the complete Salavation Taco menus, on their website.