An Early Taste of Horchata


As Horchata (470 Sixth Avenue) prepared to open its doors for its first service, we spoke with chef Manuel Trevino, who told us his menu is built on “nods to classic New York fare and to Tex Mex. I’m from a border town in Texas, but I’ve spent the last 16 years in NYC, and I’m putting my whole Mexican portfolio into one menu.”

From a deep roster of dishes, he called out his guacamole as something truly special — he’s doing a number of varieties, including one made with green apples and another mixed with chorizo and queso.

He wasn’t overselling: We popped by for an early look at the space and ordered a trio, and this was an exceptional guacamole. The classic version is made with fragrant, ripe avocados, turned into a mash that’s properly chunked but so creamy in texture it eats like thick, decadent, savory buttercream. Pile it on hot, just-fried thick tortilla chips. Better still is the rojo, which takes that blend and adds the seductive heat of serrano pepper at that level that forces you to chase each bite with another bite to keep the fire at bay. The verde — made with those crisp, aforementioned green apples — provides a nice, fresh edge when you’re ready to cool down. A margarita, chosen from the half dozen or so varieties on the menu, is also a good way to temper heat, though at $12 each, perhaps you’d rather stick with draft beer.

We tried a few other dishes on the menu, too, including a platter of nachos smothered in ballpark-like queso, silky crema, a pile of ruby-red tomatoes, and a tuft of cilantro. And we’ll skip the dorado tacos next time — the fat fish was a bit flaccid, with none of the crisped edges that makes a fish taco so delightful to eat.

We finished up with a glass of housemade horchata, thick and cinnamon-laced and sweet, though fairly grainy. You can get that spiked with rum, too, but it’s a milkshake-like dessert, so sip at your own risk.

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