If you’ve been in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, specifically around 20th street and 8th avenue, then you’ve most likely seen the eye-catching mural by New York-based Graffiti Street Artist, Dasic Fernandez. The mural’s home is on the newest foodie paradise by the Jorge Guzman Hospitality Group, Temerario Mexican Restaurant, which celebrates the street food of Mexico, and Chef Mario Hernandez’s home, Cuernavaca in Morelos, Mexico. We had the pleasure of experiencing the bold flavors of Temerario, from appetizers to desserts, on a culinary journey that left us gleefully sated; and we’re not the only ones. The restaurant quickly filled with other diners ready to feast on the culinary journey Temerario Mexican Restaurant has to offer.
Between the two of us, we tried a total of ten dishes from Temerario Mexican Restaurant (this includes appetizers, side dishes, and dessert) and two cocktails. We thought this was a great enough variety to really enjoy the robust tastes of the menu. Join us as we retell our culinary journey with Temerario Mexican Restaurant.
CHIPS AND GUAC: APPETIZER
David: I love when the ingredients for chips and guacamole are chopped with enough bite to still taste each one. The guac was fresh with bite and the chips were a nice balance in between thick cut and thin. I liked the fact that they had both yellow and blue corn chips that created a more lively plating.
Glasgow: I love freshly made guacamole that’s perfectly seasoned and filled with big chunks of avocado in it, and that is exactly what we got. Add in the artisan style, dual sized, yellow and blue corn chips, and it’s a recipe for visual and gastronomic perfection. I couldn’t get enough of this, which as a great start to the meal ahead.
If you’re looking for a daring cocktail menu, the one at Temerario Mexican Restaurant is it. Created by Mixologist Christopher Reyes, the Temerario Margarita and One Night in Tijuana were both deliciously potent cocktails that combined exotic, tropical fruits like tamarind, and guava with the smokiness of Mezcal. They offered the right amount of palate cleansing and paired great with the dishes. For those of you who love the spicy, robust taste of Ginger Beer, the La Parka and Dear Carnal cocktails should be your number 1 and 2 cocktails. The addition of absinthe in the Dear Carnal upps the ante on this memorable cocktail.
David: This dish was textural, salty and crunchy with the classic crisp pork rinds that balanced nicely with the creamy heat of the jalapeno avocado sauce and the creamy salty pop of the queso fresco. The greens and fresh slaw rounded off the dish to add a lively verdant element to the plate.
Glasgow: I loved the texture, spiciness, and lightness of this dish. It felt like I was enjoying a dish found on the “lighter” side of the menu without giving up its decadent taste. These were the most sophisticated pork rinds I’ve ever had seen. The flavors were so bold and memorable. I can still taste the heat of the jalapeno avocado sauce, and the lightness of the Chicharrones.
David: This was a beautiful marriage of potato and pork that was crispy and savory like a fresh croquetta. The balance to all the hearty base ingredients was a fresh Manzano cream and a salty smooth earthy manchego. Nice high-brow take on an easy delicious fried classic.
Glasgow: I must say on first impressions, I was not expecting a crunchy exterior and was pleasantly surprised with the rustic taste, and the contrast of the exterior and interior textures. While the outside was crunchy, the inside reminded me a bit of one of my favorite dishes, Shepherd’s Pie (if the mash potatoes were mixed in with the meat instead of on top), either way, I loved it, especially when dipped in the peppery Manzano cream. If you like a dish with heat, this is a must.
David: The perfectly seasoned steak was earthy smoky and flavorful which balanced nicely with the Negro Modelo molé sauce that was itself smoky with a blend of sweet. The accompanying salty pork chorizo was a different kind of earthy loveliness for the dish and along with the creamy avocado and fresh juicy tomato, wound up being non-competitive extras that added nice extra flavor profiles.
Glasgow: I’d order the steak just for that delicious Negro Modero based mole sauce alone!! Oh my god!!! Perfection..If allowed, I would pour that delicious sauce over everything and I almost did but of course, most of it went on the perfect hearty, medium steak. This dish had such a variety of texture and flavors, it was impossible to not enjoy it all. The steak as incredibly juicy, the chorizo had the right hint of savory sweetness, the avocado salad added a delicious freshness and the deep fried baby corn (a first for me) provided a unique crunch. A definite must for my return trip to Temerario Mexican Restaurant.
David: This fish was cooked pretty perfectly. The lightness of snapper was maintained along with the subtle sweetness of this island fish and brininess of the sea. More salty elements like the olives and capers could’ve proved overpowering but they were herbal salty and married nicely with the acidity of the tomato and red onion.
Glasgow: If you’ve ever had fish caught, cooked on the spot, and handed to you then you will understand me when I say this snapper tasted like I handpicked it out of the ocean myself, and magically perfected it to my exact liking. The char was perfect, it didn’t overpower the flavor where you couldn’t taste the freshness of the snapper. It was the ideal balance of salt with a hint of sweetness; and although the menu states burnt potatoes, they were flawless and complemented the char on the fish.
David: This was a flavor explosion of the salty smoky Serrano ham, the textural semi-sweet corn, the smooth iron richness of the refried beans, the gritty savory bite of the starchy potatoes and the herbal freshness of the tomato and greens made this a killer huarache.
Glasgow: This is what I think of when someone mentions a delicious, well rounded earthy meal. The variety of toppings (in this case, potato chorizo hash, arugula, serrano ham, and Tatemado salsa) layered on top of each other provided a great balance of flavor, color, and texture all at once. The saltiness of the serrano ham was especially wonderful directly on top of the arugula.
AGUACHILE DE CALLOS
David: I love shellfish and this is why. This scallops dish was like a balance between lightly seared and vinaigrette based. The tart and citrusy vinaigrette came through and married lovely with the light tender brininess of the baby scallops. The fresh veggies of crisp red onion and vibrant tomatillo rounded out the dish and almost made if a perfect summer seafood salad.
Glasgow: It doesn’t take much to please this seafood lover, but luckily Temerario doesn’t do the bare minimum in flavor. If I wasn’t sharing this dish, I would have drunk the sauce directly from the plate after devouring the bay scallops. I loved the fresh clean with taste of the dish, it had a peppery, escovitch (marinated in an acidic mixture) flavor. I also loved the addition of the tomatillo, which gave it a nice fruity characteristic.
FRIED SWEET PLANTAINS: SIDE DISH
David: This was a delicious combo of salty and sweet with the addition of the queso fresco topping the perfectly grilled and smoky plantains.
Glasgow: I’ve never had plantains topped with cheese before and was a bit apprehensive but the queso fresco topping gave the plantains a new flavor profile for me, sort of an elevated savory version of salty and sweet.
David: This dessert had a very cool plating with an amazing flavor profile. The beignets were perfectly soft, doughy and warm and made even better flanked by the harmony of tart berries and sweet cream. The passion fruit jam for garnish dipping was an excellent citrus balance to the grasshopper toffee that was brittle, smoky, sweet and crisp with a wonderful melt-away quality.
Glasgow: There was barely room left but I had to try this old favorite. The tater tot-sized fried-dough pastry is accompanied by three dipping sauce varieties: Leche Quemada, Mole Ganache, and Cactus Berry Jam, were the ideal end to this spirited meal. Each sauce provided a different flavor experience that almost me want to find other things to dip in them, but alas, my stomach sadly had no more room.
There’s something about countries in the Caribbean or near the equator that just embrace color so beautifully. The colors (an assortment of blue-toned ceilings, red bar stools, yellow, and orange) in the environment affect the peoples’ perspective and the same happens when you translate that into a restaurant in the States. The décor at Temerario Mexican Restaurant was lively and exuberant with the larger than life wall art and vivid graphics, like NYC’s Danielle Mastrion’s Luchador (shown directly above) that matched perfectly the restaurant’s atmosphere and the wonderful ingredients used for the reinterpreted dishes.
We can’t wait to go back to experience some of the other bold flavors that Temerario Mexican Restaurant has to offer. Are you open to trying out the daring flavors of this Mexican restaurant?