Thursday, February 24, 2011
Based on the menu, the vegetariano plato conjured many possibilities: rice, beans, and roasted vegetables, wrapped in tortillas; what came out, however, was a too-cold salad, among other things. Still, the other things, including rectangles of very mild cheese, were all as filling as imagined.
Like the no-frills furnishings, the food at Tulcingo del Valle in Hell's Kitchen isn't about anything other than itself. The awkwardly hung paintings of traditional scenes were an afterthought, as are the colorful stiff tablecloths. Authentic Mexican, apparently, doesn't include vegetarian platters. Now we know.
Far better was the chicken mole poblano. In fact, the mole's multifaceted flavor was enough to distract us from the X-rated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? playing on the tv above us. First, we tasted chocolate, then cinnamon, then chili peppers, then gentle bitterness, then umami, then back on through the cycle again, bite after bite, absolutely scratching a taste itch we didn't even know we'd had.