Tag Archive | Skirt Steak

Teqa Revisited: Murray Hill Modern Mexican Gets a New Chef!

Teqa Pulled Pork Tacos
Sure, Teqa Still Does a Mean Taco, But There’s So Much More You’ll Want to Try (All Food Photos By Anne Raso)

It’s a fact that Foodies can get Fickle Fast. Even restaurants that have laser-like focus on a successful culinary groove may need to change things up in the kitchen sooner than anticipated. On a review visit to traditional Mexican eatery Teqa back in the late summer of 2011, this self-proclaimed ‘Taqueria & Tequileria’ was savoring its position as a hip newcomer and was all about promoting a ‘Tacos and Tequila’ vibe that would attract a fresh crowd to its Murray Hill neighborhood. But it wasn’t long before anyone with a Mexican food hankering could find Tacos and Tequila every few blocks. It was clearly time for a re-think, as Teqa came under new ownership, bringing in a new Chef, 28-year-old Steven Cruz (a private catering expert also formerly of the Lower East Side’s Orchard House).

Earlier this month, we were part of a large group of bloggers and journalists invited to dine at Teqa, meet Chef Cruz and sample many of his new dishes for ourselves. And while the menu has been revamped (think now of Teqa as a culinary equivalent alternative to Dos Caminos for when you’d rather not drop $100 on dinner and drinks), Teqa still feels comfortable and familiar. The cocktail menu still includes a full page, triple column listing of specialty tequilas offered behind the bar; and yes, Teqa’s cozy yet modern dining room still flaunts that amazing Tequila Bottle Chandelier by designer Johnny Swing. Here’s a walk through some of our favorite new items!

Teqa Avocado Ensalada

Our dinner kicked off with potent cocktails and a “family style” service of many of Teqa’s new featured appetizers, so everyone got a chance to try many things. The Avocado Ensalada (pictured above, $12) is a refreshing mix of carrots, frisee, cucumber, hearts of palm and chives dressed with a pleasantly sweet cilantro lime vinaigrette and, of course, a generous portion of rich ripe avocado.

Teqa Chips and Dips

The Chips & Dips ($15) deliver three varieties of Salsa, plus freshly-made Guacamole to be scooped up by both quick fried plantain and house-made tortilla chips, which is a nice take on a traditional antojito!

Teqa Guava Chicken Wings

Another sure to please starter is the Guava Chicken Wings ($10) — a generous portion of tender chicken drumettes grilled in a Guava BBQ Sauce with cilantro chimichurri dipping sauce on the side. Finger lickin’ good!

We also really enjoyed the Crispy Calamari ($12.00), which is lightly cornmeal crusted and served almost like a salad tossed with crisp Nappa Cabbage and a Chipotle Agave Aoili. Honestly, this is the best Calamari appetizer we’ve had in any NYC restaurant, ever. Tuna crudo lovers will absolutely want to try the Tuna on Crack ($16.00): Sushi Grade Tuna, avocado, cucumber, Sriracha, toasted sesame seeds and chive cilantro oil served with tortilla chips! Delicious!

Teqa Boneless Short Rib

The night’s superstar entrée selection proved to be the Boneless Short Rib ($25) one of Chef Cruz’s specialties. Preparation begins on this truly outstanding dish when Cruz arrives at the restaurant at 10 AM to begin braising the ribs for a total of seven hours. Tamarind BBQ Sauce adds flavor before and the dish is served simply over a roasted corn puree and topped with cilantro oil. Even though this is just one rib, it is a huge portion and the meat is so tender and lean it would fall off the bone if it was not already boneless! High Fives all around on this one.

Teqa Grilled Skirt Steak

Meat lovers should also check out the ample Grilled Skirt Steak ($28), marinated in chipotle adobe for 14 hours, then grilled to order and served with grilled scallions, yucca fries and chimichurri sauce.

Teqa Churros

Stand out desserts include a plate of traditional Mexican Churros (yummy donut sticks, $6) which arrived to the table crispy and hot from the fryer, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with both dulce de leche and chocolate tequila sauces for dipping.

Teqa Chocolate Pudding

Another of Cruz’s new additions to the Teqa menu is the Crema De Chocolata ($8), a divine milk chocolate pudding which was light and luxurious but more substantial than a mousse. Just a dollop of whipped cream kicked it up a notch to sheer perfection. Cruz confessed that he adds a splash of tequila to all of his desserts!

Teqa is open late most nights and has what looks like a fantastic Brunch on the weekends that we are looking forward to checking out. Thanks to Teqa and Chef Cruz for hosting such a fun and delicious dinner!

Teqa is located at 443 Third Avenue (near 30th Street). Hours are Sunday and Monday 4:00 – 10:00 PM, Tuesday and Wednesday 4:00 PM – Midnight, and Thursday to Saturday 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday starting at 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Phone 212)213-3223 for reservations or visit their website at Teqa Dot Com for menus and information on special events.

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: Get Your Pig On!

Brother Jimmys Restaurant Union Square
“Put Some South in Yo Mouth”

Serving the crossover clientele where avid sports bar enthusiasts meet diehard southern BBQ aficionados, Brother Jimmy’s restaurants continue to maintain fierce customer loyalty while winning over new fans with an innovative approach to menu evolution. From Chicken and Ribs to Brisket and Burgers, the chefs of Brother Jimmy’s never met a cut of meat they didn’t like. But they also listen to their diners and pay attention to trending appetites, which means you’re likely to find something new and delicious on the menu each time you visit. Change, as they say, is good!

Decorated with bright neon, oversized menu boards and vintage feed store signage and farm-themed collectibles purchased from a specialty antique yard in North Carolina, Brother Jimmy’s interior décor is comforting and kitsch all at once. Up front at the bar / lounge it’s all about enjoying a frosty pitcher while watching a couple of sports teams pound each other in whatever big games are being broadcast on the nearly wall-to-wall big screens. But step further back into the dining room and, while the energy level is still at a low rumble (and the big screens are ubiquitous), you can still hear your own lively conversation while satiating your cravings for some of the best Southern BBQ in New York City. They also have online slot machine hubs here. This is an important question to first-time online uk slots gamblers because understanding the reason why casinos offer these welcome bonus and continuing membership bonuses will help you make better decisions about where you should play online games. Of course, the short answer is to create an attractive offer in a highly competitive environment. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

Charlotte Tea Cocktail
All Food Photos By Anne Raso

Don’t forget to start off your evening with one of Jimmy’s specialty cocktails! We tried the Charlotte Tea – a southern twist on the potent Long Island Ice Tea, with 5 alcohols and a hint of peach – refreshing!

Frickles, Fried Pickles
Must Try: “Frickles”

Even if you’ve grown wary/weary of the current “Let’s Deep Fry Everything” craze, be bold and order a starter of Jimmy’s signature Frickles: Slices of crisp sour dill pickles quickly deep fried in a light beer batter and served with a mild sour cream horseradish sauce for dipping ($7.95). These are prepared with such finesse that the pickle chips stay crisp while the hot batter also maintains a light crunch. Absolutely delicious.

The Wright Salad
“The Right Stuff”

Anticipating a meat-centric meal prompted us to search for a salad starter so we could tell ourselves we were eating “healthy.” Brother Jimmy’s Social Media Director, Leigh Shirvan had stopped by our table and she was happy to recommend one of her own favorites, The Wright Salad. This unique and popular salad is made with fresh romaine lettuce, wild rice, tender cubes of sweet grilled yam, tart apples, toasted pecan halves, thinly sliced red onion, dried cherries and a hint of poblano pepper for a subtle kick, all dressed in a light but flavorful vinaigrette ($10.95). The Wright Salad is the perfect size to share, and with the addition of chicken or other meat (add $3.00) it becomes a hearty meal for one on its own.

Other appetizers to choose from on Jimmy’s extensive menu include Peel & Eat Shrimp ($12.50), classic Fried Green Tomatoes ($8.25), crispy Onion Straws ($7.50), Humongous BBQ Nachos ($12.50), Jalapeno Poppers ($9.25), everyone’s favorite Chicken Wings served with a variety of sauces ($9.95 & $10.50) and a Brisket Quesadilla that we heard is outstanding ($9.50, ask for the Brisket as your choice of meat filling, as it is not listed on the menu item), among many other tempting treats.

Pig Pick of Brisket and Pulled Pork
Pig Pick Part One: Brisket, Cole Slaw and Pulled Pork

Since Jimmy’s menu is so extensive – and everything looks, smells and sounds so delicious as you read through it – you might find it difficult to make a decision as to what exactly you want to pig out on. If this is your dilemma, Brother Jimmy’s offers the easy way out with their Pig Pick: A choice of any four meat items including Northern, Southern or Dry Rub Ribs, Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket (lean or marbled), BBQ Chicken or Pulled Chicken, all served with Hush Puppies and Cole Slaw ($25.95).

Pig Pick: BBQ Chicken and Dry Rub Ribs
Pig Pick Part Two: BBQ Chicken and Dry Rub Pork Ribs

We chose the Dry Rub Ribs, Lean Brisket, BBQ Chicken and Pulled Pork and were soon salivating over a sumptuous BBQ feast! The Dry Rub Pork Rib, coated with Jimmy’s famous rub made from twenty ingredients that include black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and cumin is served sauceless,  is as thick and meaty as a beef rib but as tender as a pork loin. The Brisket was also perfectly lean and tender and we appreciated that the pulled pork, so flavorful on its own, was left in its natural roasted and shredded state to be sauced as we liked from one of the three choices of Jimmy’s BBQ sauce on each table. We would also like to give a shout out to Jimmy’s delicious Cole slaw, which tastes like Mom’s homemade slaw – crisp, slightly sweet and not at all vinegary. Nostalgia!

Grilled Skirt Steak, Macaroni & Cheese, Collard Greens

We also shared Jimmy’s version of Steak & Fries ($20.50), though we persuaded our server to let us substitute sides of Macaroni & Cheese and Collard Greens ($5.50 each) so that we could maximize our sampling. The grilled skirt steak arrived perfectly done (medium well with a decent amount of pink), sliced thin and served with side of homemade BBQ sauce. Collard Greens can be tricky to do the right way and Jimmy’s are cooked to tender perfection. Surprisingly, the Mac & Cheese – one of the restaurant most popular sides – which has a tangy, sharp cheddar flavor turned out to be made exclusively with creamy Velveeta cheese! All we can say is that Velveeta sure has taken a few steps up over the years!

Apple Crumb Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream

Readers of The Gig’s Food Reviews know that we never leave a destination without having tried at least one dessert. Brother Jimmy’s has a very limited selection of desserts, but they cover all the bases with a Red Velvet Cake, Pecan Pie (of course!), Brownie Sunday with Caramel Butterscotch Ice Cream and an Apple Crumb Pie (pictured above) that is just out of this world (all desserts are $6.00).  Try to save some room for this homemade dessert with a tender bottom crust, layers of paper thin slices of tart apple and a crunchy brown sugar topping that we had “all the way” with both Whipped Cream and Ice Cream on the side. Because, why not?

As a special offer to readers of the Worley Gig, Brother Jimmy’s is offering a 15% Discount off the price of food only at their Union Square location (116 East 16th Street between Park Ave South and Irving Place), through January 31, 2012. In order to redeem your discount, all you need to do is mention to your server that you read about Brother Jimmy’s on The Worley Gig. Brother Jimmy’s has locations all over town. Visit Brother Jimmy’s Dot Com to find a location near you.

Teqa Brings Tacos & Tequila to NYC’s Murray Hill

While its doors opened just this past March, the word is already on the street about Teqa; a Mexican restaurant that does things just a bit differently. Filling a void in a neighborhood previously longing for an infusion of youthful vibrancy, this Taqueria & Tequileria (say that five times fast) is the creation of entrepreneurial owner Derek Axelrod, who’s enlisted the right All-Star team to make Teqa a success. In the kitchen, chef Lisa Schoen (also personal chef to Derek Jeter) creates a presentation of modern and traditional Mexican cuisine that draws from global influences, while in the dining room, Interior Design by Lesly Zamor combines the warmth of dark wood and leather with the rustic/modern touch of custom lighting (courtesy of Johnny Swing) to create a very comfortable and welcoming interior.


Tequila Bottle Chandelier by Johnny Swing

Now, consider that the Bartenders at Teqa mix refreshing signature cocktails from a tequila menu featuring over 100 different bottles, and you’ve scored with an establishment that appeals to both those who desire to satiate the appetite and those who also hunger for a nightlife vibe.

But us? We came to eat!


All Food Photos By Anne Raso

A generous portion of fresh, ripe Teqa Guacamole ($14) arrives on your table spiced to your desired level of heat at Mellow, Orange-Habanero or Mega Watt (or choose trio of all three for the same price).

If you’re not a Guacamole fan, do try the House made, tri-color Tortilla Chips and Salsa in a selection of flavors like roasted tomato, green tomatillo and shrimp-mango ($9 each flavor), or try a sampling of all three (see above photo) for $10.

Oaxaca Queso Fundido (warm melted cheese dip with chips, $11) is accompanied by tomatillo salsa and available in plain cheese (for purists) or with a choice of chorizo or ground beef (add $6) or veggies (add $4).


Hibiscus & Rose Maragarita and the Voodoo Child Cocktail

Other appetizers include the popular Teqa Nachos platter ($14) topped with a cheese blend, seasoned ground sirloin, black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and cilantro crema. Quesadillas stuffed with wild mushrooms or BBQ pulled chicken ($11 each) round out the starters menu. A couple of shared appetizers could easily serve as a satisfying meal when accompanied by one or two of Teqa’s delicious cocktails such as the Voodoo Child with Tequila and fresh pineapple, or the Hibiscus & Rose Margarita.

Read More Of  This Review After The Jump!

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