Temerario
 
 

The best burger in Chelsea is from a Mexican street food restaurant

By Erik Mathes

Opened in April, this Chelsea establishment has sharply deviated from the uninspiring expectations that have set the standard for Mexican food in America. The name is the first giveaway that this place offers an uncommon experience; temerario can be translated to mean “daredevil,” “brash,” or “devil-may-care.” You’ll see this boldness all over the menu assembled by executive chef Mario Hernandez, also of Black Ant in the East Village.

The atmosphere veers boldly away from the clichéd as well. Instead of a mariachi band, Temerario blasts Mexican rap, rock, and hip-hop—think Molotov and other edgy groups—for the perfect aural accompaniment to the colorful wall art that defines the restaurant’s interior.

While the menu does present versions of Mexican staples like guac, tacos, quesadillas, and chile rellenos, it’s both the ingredients and presentation of those plates that truly set this place apart. To wit: that guacamole is topped with grasshoppers—a delicacy in Oaxaca known as chapulines, they taste salty, sour, and spicy due to being cooked with lime juice, garlic, and a special seasoned salt.

Hernandez really gets bold on Temerario’s brunch menu. First, there’s huevos con huauzontle, an extra-fluffy omelet with Mexican corn, roasted tomato salsa, avocado, and a wilted green that’s best described as a cross between kale and chard. Then, there’s the huevos al albañil, where you get scrambled eggs in a small casserole pot floating in savory salsa roja and topped with avocado and queso fresco, served with house-made corn tortillas and black beans so you can create your own breakfast tacos.
The most delicious offering has to be the Temerario burger, which, awesomely, is available any time of day. With a patty of juicy ground short ribs, it comes covered in melted manchego cheese and topped with a Negra Modelo–morita chile glaze, manzano chile cream, and mixed greens for color. Perhaps the best part is the bun, dubbed a “chile ash brioche,” it's nearly black in color, dotted with sesame seeds, and baked fresh in-house.

You can’t go wrong complementing any of these offerings with one of Temerario’s tequila- or mezcal-spiked cocktails (this place has a deep collection of both Mexican spirits). Try the spicy jalapeño margarita, or the “One Night in Tijuana” with sweet guava nectar, for something extraordinary to knock back with your eats.

Desserts like the house-made avocado-chicharron ice cream boldly seal the deal on an incredible experience. If you’re an adventurous eater (or temerario at heart), this place will have you hooked after the first visit.


Photo Credit: Adeline Ramos

hours

Mon–Wed 4 PM–11 PM; Thu 4 PM–midnight; Fri 4 PM–2 AM; Sat 11 AM–2 AM; Sun 11 AM–11 PM

price range

$18 (Temerario burger) to $28 (pescado Veracruzano)
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