Murray Hill isn’t known for it’s culinary offerings, but it’s still close enough to my apartment that I’m always looking for the next hidden gem. My most recent discovery was Salvation Taco, located in the lobby of the Pod 39 Hotel.Created by the people behind The Spotted Pig, one of New York’s storied West Village eateries, the atmosphere is decidedly delightful.
This is a great place for after work drinks, and the crowd definitely had that vibe when I was there. The space is a long rectangle dominated by a huge bar, and at the front there are a variety of tables, mostly set up for pairs. Simple, easy. The look is pretty pared back, although there are a variety of old movie posters, and a variety of kitchsy decor, but the effect is decidedly dandy and dapper, a bit casual but still fancy enough that it felt like an occasion.
The menu was small but varied, and things felt like they were gourmet without being too overdone or fancy. Everything on the menu looked well consdiered, and you could tell the flavors of everything were carefully crafted. There were two of us so we decided to go with one of the “Taco Dinners.” What’s the difference between that and the Tacos, which are also on the menu? Size. The dinners are enough food to feed two to three people, our waiter told us, and he was pretty spot on.
My friend and I got the tamarind glazed pork shank with soy pickled garlic & cilantro, which was an insane amount of food and one of the tastiest things I’ve had in a while. The glaze was sweet without being too sweet and the flavor was rich and multilayered — although this was just simple tacos, it felt hearty and like it was “just enough.” The pork was served in a cast iron skillet and we had to cut it ourselves, which really gave us the option of how much we wanted, and I’m always a fan of customization. The meat was served with a basket of fresh tortillas.
As for drinks, you know I can’t resist a good margarita. I started with a “Palabra Final,” which featured smoky mezcal, alpine herbs, lemon, and flamed orange, which gave it a delightful sweet-smoky vibe, and was a nice pairing with the glazed pork. I followed it up with one of the house margaritas, and while it was certainly potent it wasn’t overpowering.