Perpetually on the lookout for New York's best honky tonk (who isn't?) and craving tex mex, Gothamist headed to Murray Hill's Rodeo Bar last night, fully prepared for a hoe down. Kitschy decor of bulls' horns, old Texan roadsigns, and lanterns made of antlers line the spacious brick walls. Nightly, at 10, there is live honky tonk music in the back room hosting local and touring country/western bands like The Moonlighters, or last night, The Weight. But, honky tonk or not, Rodeo Bar serves up hefty portions of irresistable Tex Mex. Their menu is expansive (not expensive!) and written with snarky commentary -- to describe the Black Bean Chili Cheese Nachos, "guaranteed to appease tree huggers everywhere;" Chicken Chimichangas followed by "bet you can't say it three times fast."
Rodeo offers a full line up of meat-between-bread combos: cheeseburgers, bison burgers, chili burgers, steak sandwiches, and brisket sandwiches, meal-sized salads (often topped with chicken, steak, or cheese), and dozens of options of enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, alongside straight up Texas BBQ. Gothamist's taste buds were melting for the Chicken Mole Tacos, grilled chicken simmered in a spicy, but savory mole sauce, wrapped in soft cornmeal taco shells and quickly broiled with melted cheese. Another at the table sprung for the Catfish and Avacado Tacos, soft flour tortillas encasing a delectable combo of grilled catfish and ripe avacado, with sides of beans, rice, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. The Poblano Spinach Enchilada, one of many vegetarian options denoted on the menu by a slash through bull's horns, married soft goat cheese with spinach and roasted poblanos sandwiched between tortillas and coated with a layer of bubbly cheese. Reports of the Blackened Catfish entree -- a generous portion of catfish filet on a bed of mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables -- were, unfortunately "underwhelming" according to our table's catfish expert, though the dish arrived piping hot and beautifully presented and proved to be the lone let down.
In the end, stomach bursting, Gothamist opted to pass up the margaritas which come in 9 flavors (lime, strawberry, cranberry, raspberry, melon blue, mango, pomegranate, peach, and prickly pear) and dessert (flan, Mississippi Mud cake, key lime pie, etc), but highly recommends them to anyone with a cowboy-sized appetite.
Rodeo Bar is located at 375 3rd Avenue (at 27th) and open M-Sat from noon until 4 a.m. and Sundays until 2 a.m. Live music is nightly at 10 p.m. (212) 683.6500
photos by Jesse Chan-Norris