I live in the middle of the East and the West village in New York City – also known as Union Square. The great thing about my neighborhood? NYU is right around the corner and its hungry students create a market for good “cheap eats” restaurants.
My definition of cheap eating in NYC is getting out the door with a non-alcoholic beverage for about $15. Tortaria, which opened a few months back, is a great choice for a quick bite in this price range. I am not exactly sold on the interior being like a roadside bodgea as it attempts to be but the food is good so I am overlooking the chain restaurant like interior.
You can eat here but you must pay attention. Several things on the menu have gluten hiding in them from my personal experience.
Tortaria offers several Taquitos that can be either made gluten free or are gluten free right off the menu.
My favorite is the Carnitas which has braised pork with crumbled Queso Freso, pickled red onions (I am always up for anything pickled) and tomatillo salsa.
The Pollo Asada taquito can be made gluten free – but you must order it without the Frizzled Onion Strings as these are fried and breaded.
The Pollo Asada con Chicharrones is also an excellent choice. Off menu it is gluten free.
Beyond the Taquitos I recommend giving the Guacamole a try although a word of warning that mild is no where near mild so you might consider ordering hot or just season it yourself. A single order of Guacamole is plenty for two people if both of you are getting Taquitos. Guacamole is served with corn chips made onsite.
If you have a cross-contamination issues you will want to ask with what the current status is with frying the corn chips. I was told there was a separate fryer but this could change if they decide to start frying the Churrittos and the fried onions in the same fryer. I am under the impression that one fryer is used for chips and one is used for everything else including french fries.
Next time I head here I am going to try the Corn Esquites. Every time I see someone eating one of these I WISH I would have ordered this Mexican char-grilled corn on the cob myself! Its slathered in chipotle mayo with chili powder.
Pregnancy has kept me from evaluating the tequila bar at Toraria but I am impressed with the extensive selection of Tequila they do stock. The bar is the perfect place to stop for a drink early afternoon if you are escaping the Union Square crowds. Let me know if you enjoy it!
Neighborhood: Union Square
Address: 94 University Place (corner of 12th and University)