The Mexican cuisine from Josh Pickard and John McDonald at El Toro Blanco couldn't be any more authentic if it was shipped directly from the country itself—and it's certainly fresher. Located in the former Scuderia space, El Toro Blanco goes through ... more
The Mexican cuisine from Josh Pickard and John McDonald at El Toro Blanco couldn't be any more authentic if it was shipped directly from the country itself—and it's certainly fresher. Located in the former Scuderia space, El Toro Blanco goes through the usual motions—tacos, tamales, ceviches, empanadas—all with a twist that makes it unlike anything you've had anywhere else, and then it gets truly serious in the Pescados and Carne sections, where grilled Maine lobster faces off against pulled roasted chicken, seared Gulf shrimp versus Creekstone Farms skirt steak, and on and on. One great thing you won't find on their menu is the burger, which is only on offer during lunch and brunch, and boasts a succulent beef patty augmented with bacon, Oaxaca cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle aioli, and served with a side of fries that have been rolling around in chipotle dust in their off hours.
El Toro Blanco is located in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
The western slice of Greenwich Village—although some will tell you it's a separate neighborhood altogether; don't listen to them—the West Village is a somewhat sleepier version of its larger neighborhood, with many tree-lined streets populated by residential buildings and punctuated ever-so-lightly with restaurants and bars. The locals have fought notoriously hard throughout the years to keep raucous bars and clubs from staying open—or even opening at all—to preserve the relative quiet of their neighborhood.
The West Village stretches east from the Hudson River to 6th Avenue, and north from Houston Street to West 14th. It's northwestern corner is chewed off by the Meatpacking District, where the very sorts of restaurants and bars West Village residents try to keep out of their 'hood flourish. The majority of Bleecker Street's dining, shopping, and drinking options exist on the West Village's end of the street, with a small shopping mecca surrounding the intersection of 7th Avenue, where many high-end retailers have stores, like Brooks Brothers' Black Fleece, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, and a whole lot more.
There's plenty of history here, and the bars are no exception—Dylan Thomas famously stumbled out of the White Horse Tavern heavy with whiskey on the night he expired at the Hotel Chelsea. For those aiming to avoid the thumping, throbbing nightclubs of the Meatpacking District, jazz can be had at Fat Cat, the legendary Village Vanguard, and smaller, quieter establishments like 55 Bar. If you'd like a more structured day of drinking, the folks at the Literary Pub Crawl put on a fantastic and informative tour.
The sophisticated residents of the West Village have led a number of excellent restaurants to open in the neighborhood, from Italian favorite Sant Ambroeus, April Bloomfield's game-changing gastropub The Spotted Pig, Yerba Buena, and Perry St.. Of course, if you're not in the mood for high-end cuisine in mood-inducing settings, there's pizza on offer at John's of Bleecker Street, but you'd be better served by walking a little further east and feasting one our favorite New York slice at Joe's. And if it's a burger you're looking for, the city's first Umami Burger is lurking over on 6th Avenue, while perennial favorite Corner Bistro is on 7th.
While the West Village is low on museums, it has two of the best independent cinemas in the city between Film Forum and neighborhood landmark IFC Center.