By Ritchey Howe
Although we still sell large sodas, New Yorkers definitely care about their health. This is one of the reasons why Rouge Tomate is so popular. Rouge Tomate proudly and overtly states all of the local farms and dispensaries that they use for ingredients. As the restaurant states on its website, they go for a “elevated, contemporary cuisine that supports a healthy, happy lifestyle.”
The modern décor in the large 57th street location makes one feel downtown although you are far north of trendy Soho and Greenwich Village. The bar was filled with young couples but my not-so-hip family and I were taken to the back where we were given a dimly lit private booth. I always believe that a restaurant can be judged on its bread. Therefore, I knew I was in for a treat when our waiter arrived with a circular loaf of bread and warmed butter with herbs. I started with a delicious Mushroom “Tartare”: chopped mushrooms with an over easy egg atop made for a small delicious appetizer. The beautiful presentation of the food makes you almost not want to touch it. However, after one bite, that thought becomes irrelevant.
I then indulged in a flaky halibut with white asparagus (yes, I was not aware that there was any non-green asparagus). I left the restaurant not feeling overly full with full intention to visit their new downtown location or their food cart located in Central Park.
Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty finding this speak-easy Mexican restaurant in deep Chinatown. There are no signs, no numbers, simply a flight of stairs taking you into, what may well seem like, a sketchy basement. However, once you open a heavy wooden door, the Mandarin signs and pungent smells of fish are quickly replaced by dim lights, bumping music, and flowing margaritas. The excitement of entering the restaurant does not subside as you feel as though you are in a Mexican cave with candles built into the wall. Pulqueria has both a large bar and an intimate dining room. Happy hour from 6-8PM with $8 Margaritas…count me in! Both the passion fruit margarita and the spicy watermelon margarita did not fail to impress. For dinner, our party indulged in the truffle queso fresco, green salsa enchiladas, and of course freshly made guacamole. However, the magic of Pulqueria stems primarily from the “pulque”, which I learned means “earthy tasting alcohol.”
Overall: Go with a group of friends from drinks and a light dinner for a novel exciting dining experience that will not kill your wallet.
Address: 11 Doyers Street New York NY 10013