Toloache Upper East Side

Things on the home front are improving, thankfully.  I pray that we can keep up with the follow through; that is always the tough part.  But like every life trial, we are taking it one day at a time.  The good thing is that we are starting to make plans again, which is a big relief to a lifelong avid planner…

A couple of weeks ago, we had a quick lunch at the cute Mexican restaurant Toloache Upper East Side.  This is another nation in the Chef Julian Medina empire of restaurants.  See my old post on the Toloache in the theatre district for a full review of the flagship. I will keep this post brief, which is fitting because the restaurant is quite small.

Toloache upper east

Firstly, we stumbled upon the place as we leisurely strolled down 82nd street after having rejected the original joint we had considered visiting for a bite.  I always love restaurants that I find on the streets (as opposed to the avenues).  They tend to be more intimate, more neighborhoody, more local and less corporate, etc.  This place fit all of those street restaurant attributes.

The outside is very intimate and inviting.  You walk in and on the right there is a bar that was animated by many patrons, even on a Sunday afternoon.  The decor has a slight middle eastern flare on the background Mexican theme (if that can possibly make any sense).  The service was great.  The staff seemed to be part of a family.  Each seemed very experienced with the menu and like they had been part of their restaurant system for a while.

R had the grasshopper tacos “Chapulines” again and I got my perennial favorite the “Queso Fundido” (which comes as a small cast iron pan of smouldering cheese with some mushrooms thrown in for good measure, served with small tortillas).  I think that is what we had at the other Toloache!  I guess we are creatures of habit…both were really good.  However, in the afternoon light of day, seeing the actual fried grasshoppers was a bit more disconcerting than in the darkness of the evening.

R followed those up with the “Toro Taquitos” and he says “Oh, those were good!!  Small but really good.”  He also had Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus cold drink).  I had the Tacos de Lechon. This was a couple of weeks ago and I can’t remember what I thought of them, which means they were either A) completely forgettable or B) just “meh”.  I think it was a little of both.

But despite that last blase note, I thought the place was a great neighborhood find and we will definitely return (I haven’t yet tried the avocado fries which are yes, both avocado and fried [double yum]).  My only real criticism is that the place is pricey.  The chef was hanging out there that afternoon which was a good sign….