Dorado Tacos and Cemitas


The joint effort of a former Californian and a Boston chef, the new taco spot James Ryang, for these pics) were invited to visit recently, we left longing for a similarly well-priced and delicious restaurant in NYC—no small compliment coming from a group with higher-than-average standards for tacos.

Dorado takes its cues from Mexican street food and keeps the menu pretty simple, focusing on fish tacos (four styles in all) but offering other fillings too, as well as hearty sandwiches called cemitas, rotisserie chicken and sides that include rice and beans, guacamole and pickled vegetables. Drink options also keep it real with Jarritos, doradopics2.jpg

Co-owner Michael Brau explains that their food "is about spicy, sweet, acid and salty" and from what we tasted, his chef-partner Douglas Organ (already renowned in Boston) nails it every time. Our favorite of the tacos, the Ensenada, takes on the battered fish taco. Wrapped in a soft, locally-made tortilla, the crisp but not greasy fish comes dressed with a lime wedge, pickled onion (thanks to research the owners conducted in the taco's namesake town), shredded cabbage, crema and pico de gallo. Like everything we tasted, the freshness and quality of the ingredients kicks the classic up into a category you might expect from a more formal place.

In fact, Dorado puts off a decidedly laid-back vibe with unpretentious and helpful staff, bar seating and citrus-colored walls. Eco-friendly utensils, napkins and plates, recycled wood floors and reclaimed tables are yet another example of how to do it right—but back to the food.

Other tacos, like the piquant chicken and tender steak (both feature a habañero salsa with a pleasant heat), also benefit from the perfectly-sized tortillas and winning flavor combos. A meal consisting of a couple tacos (for $6 you get two of your choice with rice, smoky black beans and grilled jalapeño) satisfies, but for those looking for something new, the cemitas introduce a little-known Mexican sandwich hit.


Layered between a disc of soft bread (the owners worked with a local baker to create a lard-free, sesame seed-topped roll) a combination of fillings, like pork milanesa and house-made chorizo team up with Oaxacan cheese, black beans, chipotles and cilantro, will convert most. While cemitas originated in Puebla, Mexico, Michael Brau initially checked them out in Boyle Heights, L.A. and chef Douglas Organ tasted his first cemita when Brau's son (and CH contributor) Seth Brau took them to a place in the back of a Sunset Park, Brooklyn deli.


While the sides succeed as much as the more substantial dishes, we especially recommend the corn and guacamole. Accompanied by white corn tortilla chips (crisp and perfectly salted), a tangy lime flavor lends the fresh guac a welcome layer. The corn, seizing on a traditional street food dish popularized in the U.S. only recently, uppercuts them all by only serving it during its peak season and keeping the cotija cheese dusting light. (For those already obsessed, following doradopics10.jpg


The portabello mushroom taco, which won't make vegetarians sad about being vegetarian


A fruit, jicama and cucumber salad with lime and chile powder.