* Rosa Mexicano
9 E 18th St
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10003
Yes, yes… I said I would start to cry if anyone mentioned Mexican food to me again but I was recently invited to a blogger tasting event at Rosa Mexicano for the launch of their new menu and of course had to go. Free food! Rosa Mexicano is a high end Mexican chain restaurant with 15 locations nationally, including three in New York. I had been to the Union Square/Flat Iron one twice before and had an experience similar to what most Yelpers seem to say: pretty good Mexican food (albeit on the heavy side), large portions, and expensive. I had always associated Mexican food with large portions and heaviness but never had expensive upscale Mexican food. Well, my friends, Rosa is switching it up and will be launching a new menu that features smaller and lighter portions, though priced similarly to their old menu.
This is the most interesting taco I tried. It is the Panza con Callos de Hacha, aka. seared diver scallops, crisp Kurobuta pork belly, and orange-habanero salsa. As you can see from the photo, the scallops are perfectly seared. The sides were browned and very slightly charred, while the centers were still extremely tender and maybe even slightly undercooked (the way it should be). The scallops were also tremendously sweet, which is completely necessary when paired with something as flavorful as pork belly. I was surprised that the pork belly didn’t mask the scallop’s flavors. Kurobuta pork belly is essentially Berkshire (an early-maturing breed that is known for its juiciness, tenderness, and flavor). I had three of these tacos that night and depending on the taco, my slice of pork was better or worse (one more crisp, one burnt, one perfect, some with more fat, and some with less). Three of these tacos go for $21 … a bit steep in my opinion considering you get about one full (large) scallop per taco. But money aside, this new interpretation of surf-n-turf was delectable.