- Restaurant Pulqueria
- Cuisine Mexican
- Location 11 Doyers Street (between Pell Street & Chatham Square), Manhattan
- Phone 212-227-3099
- Directions Hopstop
- Atmosphere sexy, dark, spacious,
- Attire smart casual, dress to impress
- Ideal for small groups, 1x1, bar scene, trendsters
- Price moderate
Pulqueria is not the type of restaurant/bar that is particularly approachable. By 'approachable,' I'm referring to the fact that there's no visible signage or even the slightest hint that, just below your feet, resides a hip Mexican restaurant. In the heart of Chinatown, for that matter. Located on one of the most confusing, non user-friendly cul-de-sac 'blocks' in the entire borough of Manhattan. My point is this: you're not going to just happen upon/find this place if you aren't already aware of its existence. Period.
While Michelle sat in a non-moving cab during rush hour, I chose to get my evening started with a margarita. Hell, you already know that I had arrived at Pulqueria on the earlier side of our 6:30pm reservation. "No rush," I replied, in response to her 'traffic sucks and I'll be arriving a bit later than expected' text message.
Two very mediocre margaritas later, Michelle arrived at Pulqueria and we were seated immediately.
To begin, Michelle and I chose to split an order of the 'Guacamole Classico,' which was accompanied by a basket of warm and salty house-made tostados. The vibrant avocado dip was folded with chopped white onions, tomatoes and finished with a dusting of cilantro, green onions, and a couple of lime quarters.
For my entree, I chose the 'Enchiladas Suizas,' which loosely translates to chicken enchiladas with green sauce. Typically, I shy away from ordering chicken, as I find it either tasteless or too gamey - relatively boring when compared to other proteins - and, to be quite honest, dirty. Ask me about my experience with Aramark's (one of my previous employers) Arkansas location, situated directly across the street from a major Tyson Chicken plant.
I asked our server if the kitchen could make me a plate of cheese enchiladas, to which I was told that there were no substitutions. Um, OK. "The 'Enchiladas De Jamaica' are vegetarian," she added. After I explained that I was not a vegetarian - that I just didn't particularly enjoy chicken and was concerned that their enchiladas would be made with dark thigh meat - she simply shrugged and gave me a blank stare. "Fine, I'll take the chicken enchiladas," I hesitatingly replied.
Once my entree arrived, however, I was taken aback by its visual authenticity and overall drool-inducing sex appeal. Two corn tortillas were lightly fried, stuffed with shredded white-meat chicken breast, and folded over (in a taco-like shape). A liberal amount of melted Chihuahua cheese and sliced white onions crowned each enchilada, whose bottom halves were immersed in a creamy, green tomatillo sauce.
My first bite was all the proof I needed that, maybe, I should consider broadening my enchilada horizons beyond just cheese.
Conclusion: I found the food at Pulqueria to be much more impressive than the cocktails which, having read all of the PR pieces and initial reviews, suprised me. I was under the impression that the venue was leaning heavier towards drinks/destination 'bar/lounge' venuee and less towards eats/legit restaurant. At least that's the sense I got in the months prior to its opening. Per my experience, however, it was quite the opposite. The food completely outshined the beverages...and the service.
Pulqueria is not somewhere that I will rush back to, per se, but the next time I find myself in Chinatown - hungry, but not in the mood for Chinese food - I would definitely return.
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle