94 University Pl (12th St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 776-1830
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Union Square
We were in Union Square to catch a movie at the local cineplex (Yes, I couldn't resist "King Kong: Skull Island"). We were also searching for a pre-theater bite and found ourselves in front of Tortaria. Being one to never pass up on a taco, we went in.
The space is a playful take on a Mexican taqueria and has a festive vibe with brightly-colored fabrics dangling from the ceiling, a full bar specializing in tequila, and an open kitchen. It also draws a young college crowd with its pitchers of designer margaritas. The menu is a mix of traditional dishes like carne asada and al pastor taquitos, and not-so-Mexican dishes like the milanesa de polla torta, a sandwich made with panko-crusted chicken, spicy black beans and melted oaxaca cheese.
We settled on the mahi lime tacos and beef enchiladas. I got the enchiladas filled with ground angus beef and topped with chihuahua cheese and crema. It's served with avocado, pico de gallo and refried black beans. It is also quite satisfying. My eating partner, who is also my sixteen-year-old son, also seemed content with his two fried mahi tacos with a jicama corn relish which he scoffed down in about two minutes flat before taking on a large serving of guac and chips. He ordered a Mexican lime soda while I enjoyed a classic margarita with a well-salted rim.
Our server worked diligently to get us in and out quickly so we wouldn't miss the start of our movie. Just like Kong, which was better than expected, so was our meal at Tortaria where most of the dishes cost under ten bucks. Another reason to keep this spot on your short list.
Review By: Thomas Rafael