NYC
Posted December 22, 2022

My partner saw this restaurant on their Instagram feed, and since it’s a new Mexican restaurant, we thought it’d be interesting to check out. I know absolutely nothing about the Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef Jonatán Gomez Luna Torres, but the menu looked pretty interesting and looks like it can bring an upscale experience and taste of Mexican cuisine. We were able to get 5 PM reservation easily on a Thursday evening, and they still have not gotten their liquor license by our visit tonight. That’s fine because they do offer mocktails, which I am a huge fan of in general.

Ambiance

The restaurant is based off the energies of Tulum and the Yucután (noticed the last 3 letters) peninsula. When entering the restaurant, the decor is absolutely immersive. The bottom floor is supposed to be Tulum which is the bar area. Because they don’t have a liquor license, that part is closed. The restaurant, Tán, is located upstairs which the host will escort you. As you’re walking upstairs, the decor definitely has that coastal Mexican vibe. And as you enter the dining room, you can’t help but feel you are in some coastal resort patio.

The ambiance is quite lovely. We were seated in the booths, and the seat was quite comfortable and relaxing. The interior aesthetics definitely helped us forget that we were in NYC. There were tons of fabric ivory colored drapes hanging above us, which gave us some memorable vibes of HBO’s latest season of White Lotus as people were sitting under little cabanas eating overlooking the ocean. Due to the rain and rather nasty weather at this time (we’re about to hit the “Cyclone Bomb”), it felt more like we were under a cabana shielded away from a monsoon.

The service was a little rusty as they are still figuring some of their logistics and training new wait staff. They were however very diligent in filling our waters and asking how our food was. If you prefer this type of interaction, head towards this restaurant before they gain too much notoriety.

Food

The below food that we ordered was all easily shareable between 2 people.

The following are both mocktails since they don’t have their liquor license yet.

The Coconut-Mango Fizz ($12 - left) came with coconut water, muddled macerated pineapple, fever-tree club soda, coconut foam, and mango sorbet. As you can probably get an idea of, this drink was not as sweet or potent as the watermelon drink below. It had very subtle coconut and mango flavors which my partner really enjoyed. Their preference though would be for this to have some alcohol. I imagine they would probably add some rum to this.

The Spicy Watermelon Agua Fresca ($12 - right) came with fever-tree club soda, simple syrup, lime juice, muddled watermelon, mint, and jalapeno. I thought this was pretty good for a mocktail. It had a nice balance of watermelon flavors and that backside kick to it from the jalapeno. I think this is a fine drink and doesn’t need the alcohol. This drink was also a bit sweeter than the Coconut Mango Fizz, and it leaves those flavors and sensations lingering for a bit.

The Lobster Pozole ($24) came with hominy corn, guajillo lobster broth, radish, oregano, and baby lettuce. There were roughly about 3 small pieces of lobster in it. The broth was very tasty since you can really taste the lobster shell flavors in it. My partner has mild allergy to lobster, but they could not resist drinking some of the soup.

The Ceviche Amarillo ($18) came with tuna, aji amarillo, leche de tigre, red onion, and mango. They also gave you some large pieces of tostada sized chips on the side to serve the ceviche on. The ceviche was one of the best I’ve had in the city. It’s very fresh, vibrant of flavors, and has an excellent acidity balance to it. The chips as a vessel was appropriate for this. The serving size is pretty generous compared to other ceviche places in Manhattan.

The Octopus Maya ($26) came adobo marinated with roasted garlic creamy purée, and roasted tomato. It came with a side of 3 corn tortillas that were stuffed into the little pig basket behind the dish. They gave a very reasonable quantity of octopus. It had a very nice grill char to it. Some parts of it were a tad chewy, but we did not eat it right when it was served since we were busy taking some pictures. We figured if you eat it hot, it would have been very tasty. The garlic creamy purée was absolutely delectable. The corn tortillas in the pig basket were served warm and can be used as a vessel to wrap the octopus with the creamy garlic purée. My partner not only enjoyed that part, but they also used it to savor every speck of it off the plate as well.

The salad towards the top had little slices of beets and some sort of vinaigrette. I think the waitress said this was came with the Octopus Maya, but it seems it was to accompany the Jumbo Prawns below.

The Jumbo Prawns ($52) came a la diabla style in a smoked chili marinade, chintextle mayonnaise, and tulumeze green salad (which is described above in the Octopus Maya section). There were 3 pieces of shrimp (~$17 per prawn). The shrimp’s marinade was overpowered by the grill, and the lemon wedge definitely overpowered it as well. Nevertheless, we love prawns that can be eaten whole. Yes, the whole thing is edible, though you need to chew carefully and slowly. Some shell pieces could have used just a bit longer on the grill to break down the tough carapace just a bit further so that it was more easier to chew. Nevertheless, it was quite good though very pricey for what you get. We didn’t really care to use the mayo since we enjoyed the more natural splash of lemon. Unless you absolutely crave prawns and money was no object, I would skip this since the value for this is quite low.

The Short Rib al Carbon ($42) came with house-made salsas, bibb lettuce, and pickled red onion. They ask you to take the little bibb lettuce, place some short rib pieces, then douse it with the garnishes such as the salsa verde or splash of lemon. The salsa verde has tiny chunks of avocado in it. This dish was phenomenal, and I’d highly recommend ordering it if you’re into “wraps”. The short rib was super tender and had a nice fat to meat ratio. The salsa verde had a nice zesty bite to it, which was a delightful complement to the tangy flavors of the beef. That’s not to say you couldn’t eat the short rib by itself, but we really enjoyed the melodic dance of zest and savory in our mouths.

The dessert Tulum By Beach ($16) came with caramelized pineapple, mango sorbet, coconut foam, and served with passion fruit sauce. It had little pieces of mint spongecake in it and tapioca (not the American kind) as well. The tapioca tasted similar to large couscous grains. This was an excellent dessert alternative to everything chocolate. It had a nice balance of sweet to tart in all of its flavors. Everything tasted super fresh, and the best part of this was that the passion fruit sauce was homemade. In other words, it was a mix of yellow and purple passion fruits imported from Mexico, so it was quite tasty and not tart at all. On first bite, my partner’s eyes lit up with pure joy and brought them back to Brazil again. We’d highly recommend this dish if you’re going to order dessert and want a chocolate alternative.

Final Verdict

We were pleasantly surprised by how tasty this meal was, and we would not be surprised if this restaurant starts to gain some popularity as more people try it out and as they figure out their price points. The prices are a little on the high side, but it does advertise itself a bit as high end Mexican. I can’t help but compare Casa Enrique, a Michelin Star Mexican restaurant in LIC, to this and am confident that this restaurant tastes much better than Casa Enrique. If you are in the Midtown area and don’t have a problem making a little further trek out to the Midtown east side, definitely check this restaurant out. The ambiance and food are both well worth it if you’re looking for an upscale night out and aren’t price shocked.

Yelp Jabs

But extremely over priced for what you actually get. I paid for 4 pieces of scallop.. and a table spoon of corn. My girlfriend had the red snapper but her banana leaf was burned to a crisp… I saw the table next to us get served 3 shrimps for the $52 Jumble Shrimp and I honestly felt bad for them.

This Yelper should check out other some more restaurants. The $38 for 4 pieces of scallop is en-par to other similar restaurant places. The purpose of the banana leaf is to provide it as a wrap vessel for the fish itself. You aren’t supposed to eat it. Yeah, the prawns were fairly expensive, but people should feel free to level their expectations with conversations with the wait staff.

Revisions

  1. Dec 22, 2022 - Initial revision.