Tulcingo del Valle’s chile relleno is a vegetarian masterpiece
One of the cornerstones of Pueblan cooking is the chile relleno–a fresh, deep green poblano pepper slit and stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter, and then fried. The process is tricky–believe me, I’ve tried it–because if the cheese seeps out an leaks into the frying oil, all is lost. The frying must be done quickly, too, or the batter coating turns soggy and repulsive.
A superior version of the dish is turned out at Tulcingo del Valle in Hell’s Kitchen, a Mexican grocery that morphed into a full-blow restaurant several years ago, and one of the best restaurants in that part of town. The sauce that smothers the fried chile is unique to Pueblan cooking, too–something like a Basque piperade, it consists of chunky tomatoes and other vegetables lightly stewed. The plate also includes cheese-dusted refried beans, moist yellow rice, and a welcoming dab of guacamole. 665 Tenth Avenue, 212-262-5510
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