Salvation Taco is a Big Winner in Small Packages
I’ll admit, when I first heard about April Bloomfield’s new Murray Hill Mexican spot, Salvation Taco, I didn’t expect it to fit into the Midtown Lunch budget. But, once I saw the prices on the menu, I had to take closer look. Last week Blondie and I headed over to investigate. As with all newly opened places, many things, including the menu are still in flux, so remember this is just a first look.
More of a bar than a restaurant, Salvation Taco seems more like a place where I want to grab a drink and some snacks than a quick lunch. The tempting offers of libation from the bartender when we sat down at the bar bore that out. Still, we had work and classes to get back to, so we stuck to water.
The menu, without a single item over $10, is still a bit of a shock to me, but how big were any of these dishes going to be?
Blondie ordered a pair of tacos, starting with the lamb taco on naan ($3). Now, I don’t know what makes this a taco rather than a really good, if really tiny gyro, but it was really rather fantastic. Larger than the predicted two bites, I managed to get a taste of this and now wish there was a street meat cart that could make a bigger version of this somewhere in Midtown.
Tender lamb, hand shredded mint leaves and a dollop of yogurt sauce on top – if this were three times bigger, we’d have a new street meat palooza champion on our hands.
By the time Blondie got to her skirt steak taco ($3), I was too occupied with my dish to give it a try, but she had good things to say about this one as well. Still, it’s obvious from looking at this that it’s also relatively small. I typically need three tacos to fill me up and would probably have needed a fourth in this case, but Blondie was happy with the portion.
Conversely, The miniaturized lamb tongue torta ($3) was the perfect size. I’ve long been a fan of tortas, those football shaped Mexican sandwiches, but invariably they are so big and so messy that end up with a bellyache and half of the sauces splattered on me. A neat torta experience may be sacrilege to some, but it was my, ahem, salvation. The lamb tongue was tender and gamy and everything I love about tongue and lamb and tortas. Absolutely and totally worth it.
While the plan was to stick within the ML budget, there was no way we could pass up an order of crispy pig ears ($7), fried and sticky and even better with a squeeze of lime on top. We split an order of ears, which put Blondie just under budget and pushed me over by a buck or two. after walking out, I wasn’t stuffed, but totally satisfied… Even if I could have kept eating those crispy ears all day.
Also of note is the daily breakfast options that Blondie swore she’d be back for.
So, is Salvation Taco a Midtown Lunch? It’s hardly a bargain, so probably not. What it is, is a great place to get a surprisingly inexpensive lunch, possibly with a tasty adult beverage, either with the gang from the office or as a way to get away from them. Given the upcoming dead week between Christmas and New Year’s, I’d make plans to goof off there for an afternoon as soon as possible.
Salvation Taco, 145 E 39th St (btw. Lex+3rd).