Morrell Wine Bar & Café | May 23, 2012

Lunch: Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY

With a great outside seating area, I was already happy.  Upon ordering two plates from their “bites” menu, I was promptly served a seven seed and grain piece of baguette and olive oil.  This bread was delicious, but would have been better slightly warmed.  I ordered the fresh radishes with salted goat milk butter and the pulled pork tacos, without knowing how good these dishes were together.  The radishes were undeniably local: they were fresh, crisp and had a juicier texture than any radish would find outside a farmer’s market; the deep fuchsia color was a clear indicator of its taste.  The salted goat milk butter was a creamy hand-churned slightly translucent paste that was delicious, yet it was a little overpowered by that spicy/bitter taste of the radish.  The pulled pork taco bites weren’t tacos, but they were the best and most unexpected dish I have encountered in quite a while.  The outside crust was a sweet and crispy shell that had a sort of crystallized syrup infused into it.  The pulled pork was soaked in a sweet and savory sauce, and the cilantro-lime yogurt, leaf of cilantro and dollop of guacamole all fused together upon the sweet crispy shell for each bite.  I thought at first that they had by accident dropped a little guacamole on the plate, and covered it by one of the small “tacos” when I first picked one up because the bottom of my taco had guacamole.  I soon discovered that each tiny taco had a shmear of guacamole under it, which only completed the now “guac-sandwich-taco.”  I believe this was done because the other flavors overpowered the small dollop of guacamole on the pulled pork, and having another dollop of guacamole hit your taste buds first simply emphasized the creaminess of the avocado against the juicy pulled pork and crunchy shell.  The guacamole was spiced extremely well, and I am unsure whether people generally enjoy a smoother guac, but I do wish the guac was slightly chunkier, in order for the fresh avocado taste to be more present than the spices in it.

The service was fast for a fancier restaurant, and had generally nice people on staff.  It did seem I had 5 different people waiting on me during the meal, so it was confusing who was actually receiving the tip.


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