Not Just Tofu

Restaurant: Tapas as Carino

In Local Eats, New York, Restaurant Experience on October 18, 2010 at 4:14 am

Carino of Brooklyn is a cozy eatery off the beaten track.  As you enter, it is not hard to imagine yourself taking a siesta in Spain because the atmosphere is so relaxed.  The service greets you with a smile and helps to explain the menu.  The menu is a Mexican based but familiar to the average foodie and vegetarian friendly.  Since the lunch service is mostly tapas, it is a great experience for a bunch of friends.  Sharing is encouraged, so don’t worry about if you don’t like it, chances are someone at the table will. 

The only salad on the lunch menu is the Carino salad made of carrots, celery, jicama, beets and baby spinach dressed with a jalapeño dressing topped with smoky pumpkin seeds.  The salad is so pretty, you feel bad destroying it.  Trust me this salad will be destroyed! The dressing isn’t overly spicy and the smoky pumpkins seeds add an interesting note of flavor which confuses your taste buds. 

Small plates include Picaditas which are tortillas topped with salsa verde and a Mexican cheese similar to queso blanco. These are not tortillas as you know it; they are crunchy outside with a smooth and creamy inside.  If all your friends are not vegetarian, they offer Taquitos Dorados which come in potato or chicken.  The prices range from $4 to $10 for each dish. 

Oh don’t forget to try the Elote which is grilled corn on the cob rubbed with butter and rolled in chili powder.  Can you say YUM?  While you are there, don’t drink the same old thing; try their imported Mexican soda or their fresh juices. 

As for dessert, ask the waiter what is available because not everything on the menu is prepared for the lunch service.  By the time the meal is over, the small plates make you feel like you ate a great plate.  Tapas are a great lunch break from homemade salads and vegetarian frozen meals.

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