Thursday, April 26, 2012

Viva Fajita: Rosa Mexicano NYC Menu Preview Event

By: Wela Quan and Ethan Shen 

The first time Ethan and I went to Rosa Mexicano was over a year ago for some drinks and appetizers with friends. We went to the Union Square location -- and we loved the restaurant’s high ceilings and open atmosphere because we’re both from places with wide spaces (Texas and Alberta). The margaritas were great, the guacamole passed our litmus test, and the menu looked solid, so we already knew we’d have to return someday to relax in the comfortable surroundings with a full meal.

Our vague memories were blown away when we finally made our way back last week. Rosa Mexicano has completely revamped their menu and redefined what we know as Mexican food in two ways: first, it focuses on smaller sharing plates (as opposed to normally gigantic portions) and second, it focuses on new combinations of flavors and ingredients. This refined approach to Mexican was refreshing in that it allowed us to try several different unique dishes without having to commit  to a single plate of tacos, enchiladas or fajitas.

Our dinner started off with a refreshing pomegranate margarita, a new margarita flavor added just in time for spring. Following this, we snacked on chips and guacamole, which was as good as we remember. It was a battle to stop ourselves from filling up on the guac, and our restraint was rewarded by the parade of different delectable tacos that came next! First on the tasting menu was the Tacos de Hamachi, a mini hard shell taco filled with yellowtail and topped with bacon, serrano chili, arugula and crema. So delicious!
Following this we tried the Carnitas de Borrego soft taco which had roasted lamb, marinated cucumbers topped with pistachio-habanero puree and mint salsa verde. These two tacos were both extremely tasty, but the best part of the meal was the Panza con Callos de Hacha, a soft taco with seared diver scallops, crisp kurobuta pork belly and orange habanero salsa. Scallops and pork belly are two of our favorite foods, but we would never have thought to combine the two together! The combination created a surprising light combination -- the scallops were seared just right (not over-cooked like at some restaurants). Neither of the two overwhelmed the other and both could be tasted in one bite.
We finished off the meal with a pot of Papas Fritas con Mole, hand–cut garlic fries with mole (the light hint of mole made them just a bit more fancier than the average french fry). By the end of our meal, we were bursting at the seams! The waiter mentioned that part of the reason they shifted to small plates was to make it easy for people to choose Rosa Mexicano even if they want to keep it light and still go out after dinner. This certainly works in theory, but let us be a cautionary tale, if you love flavorful and imaginative food, Rosa Mexicano is dangerous in all the right ways!

Rosa Mexicano (Union Square)
9 East 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-3350
 Rosa Mexicano on Urbanspoon

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