Fairly impossible to think of Yonkers riverfront dining without mentally swooning over the location, hip vibe, and eclectic menu of long-standing Dolphin Restaurant, the always warm and welcoming Rugova family has upped the downtown ante with the new TaqueRio Taco Bar in the spot where its Café Hudson once stood.
Perched at the very edge of the river in a completely redesigned setting, TaqueRio is a mostly outdoor eatery, though the open and airy indoor bar beckons and sets a sophisticated, laidback tone for the handful of tables that populate the cool, ultra-mod space.
Inside or out, back to the water or front, the menu of eight tacos is the real draw at TaqueRio. Each is a standout on its own, crafted by the hand of Chef Manny Saldivar, who’s been at the stove in NYC and Westchester for years, but is originally from Puebla — just south and east of Mexico City and known for its culinary history. “My mother cooked a lot and I have many of her secrets,” he says. “She taught me to have a passion for this cuisine.”
Drawing on the influences of French, Asian, and Italian cooking, Chef Manny’s tacos are delicately seasoned yet flavor-forward, authentic, and downright inspired. The chicken confit of slow-cooked thigh meat with cilantro and onions in a tomatillo sauce is a perfect pocket of elevated home-cooked comfort food, much like the “porky pastor” which marinates for two days in pineapple and achiote (a popular Puebla spice), and then simmers for four hours before being placed into its shell.
Further outside the box, there’s a taco with Spanish octopus and chorizo; a sushi-grade salmon sashimi number; braised short rib with guajillo (traditional Mexican red sauce); and the pièce de résistance: poached shrimp with white soy, lemongrass, citrus Asian slaw, avocado siracha mayo, and eel sauce in a crunchy wonton shell. Even the aptly named “American” with simple ground beef keeps pace with the others, as does the vegetarian offering with chickpeas, veggies, and jalapeno crema.
The tacos share menu space with a brief sampling of apps, salads, and mains at TaqueRio. Don’t miss the on-trend birria quesadilla; the crisp and yummy Mexican Caesar salad; or the beer-brined half chicken. The lush, milky, and light tres leche is a meal ending must, unless you can handle another generously spiked sangria — then, do that. Gaze at the river, and just drink it all in.
TaqueRio Taco Bar
1 Van Der Donck St