Zagat editor James Mulcahy stopped by the Pod 39 Hotel in Gramercy to visit Salvation Taco, a non-traditional taco joint from two notable city chefs, and filed the following report.
When renowned chef April Bloomfield and her business partner Ken Friendman decided to open Salvation Taco, they enlisted Roberto Santibañez of Fonda to collaborate on a menu selection that you wouldn't find at your traditional taqueria.
"It's a taco place that is not Mexican," explained Santibañez. "It's just a very eclectic, New York mix of all sorts."
The unique selections cost $3 per taco, and options include Moroccan lamb breast served on a sliver of naan bread and a cauliflower-stuffed option that should entice vegetarians.
"It's like an Indian-themed taco," said Bloomfield, "it's got curried crema. We make the curry past here and mix it with the crema. We add roasted cauliflower and curry leaves. It's elegant and actually quite light and refreshing."
Though the building now houses the trendy Pod Hotel, the name and religious symbols throughout the space pay homage to the location's former life.
"This building used to be an old Salvation Army," said Bloomfield. "Ken and I are known for keeping the old name of the place, to kind of honor it, so this one is called Salvation Taco."
The colorful room is anchored by a long bar where guests can enjoy a list of inventive, tequila-heavy cocktails by bartender Sam Anderson. The cheap prices and festive atmosphere promise to attract a young, hip crowd that's similar to Bloomfield's other restaurants.
"The Pod Hotel caters to a very particular person, of a certain age and of certain likings, and it fits perfectly," Santibañez says. "Also for people in the industry, who can come in late, not necessarily for dinner, you can order a few little tacos and a drink. I think it's gonna be awesome."
For more information about this and other new restaurants, visit blog.zagat.com.