Vivid bar bites are drawing hungry, thirsty crowds to Salvation Taco in Murray Hill. Chef April Bloomfield—who introduced New Yorkers to the gastropub nearly a decade ago at The Spotted Pig and has since specialized in drink-friendly chow at The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar—steers in a different direction at her lively new spot, which opened in December off the lobby of the Pod 39 hotel.
Consulting on the menu was Chef Roberto Santibañez, whose upmarket Mexican cooking won over Chowhounds at Fonda, but here the flavors cross borders and oceans. One hound, lexismore, has fallen for a taco filled with sweetbreads and chickpeas and another of Moroccan-spiced lamb on naan. Other unorthodox fillings are Korean-style barbecued beef and roasted cauliflower with curried crema.
Hounds also recommend sandwiches, including a lamb lengua torta; snackish small plates such as crispy fried pig ears and chicken feet; and salads of pork belly with pineapple or jicama with tomatillo. Among the few larger courses, dragonfly likes the Jacob's Ladder, a plate of short rib on the bone meant for sharing, with house-made tortillas and salsa. For loratliff (who's partial to the fried-fish taco with spicy "Mayan mayo"), the best approach is to go with a group, which will let you sample most of the menu. While some find the tacos a bit small at $3 to $5 apiece, a happy-hour deal of three tacos al pastor and a Modelo for $10 offers a budget option. "Great deal," loratliff says.
Salvation Taco [Murray Hill]
In the Pod 39 hotel, 145 E. 39th Street (between Lexington and Third avenues), Manhattan
Photo from Salvation Taco / Facebook