Dave and Krystiana Rizo have lived in Crown Heights for about five years now, and while they love their adopted city, that doesn't mean they don't sometimes miss their home in San Antonio. Especially the town's ubiquitous taco stands, which Dave says "are like pizza parlors here in NYC. You can just walk down the street and grab, like, a bean and cheese taco, whenever you want."
So when the pandemic hit in March, and Dave lost his job at Superiority Burger where he'd been cooking for five years, and Krystiana lost her job at Emmy Squared where she'd been bartending, they decided to strike out on their own, and bring some of that "cosmic Texas cookin'" to New York.
"I spent five months figuring out how to cook all the stuff I grew up with," says Dave. "Tacos, tortillas, beans, chili... I had no recipes, these were things that were just always around back home, that people in that part of the world have been eating for a long, long time."
They call their concept Yellow Rose, and after a summer of popular pop-ups at places like Dame, Hunky Dory, and Doris, the Rizos found a permanent home for their dream in the East Village. Located in the former Feast space on Third Avenue, Yellow Rose is a counter-service restaurant with a fun and funky front room where you place your order (no indoor dining) and, if you're not bringing your food home, a covered but unheated outdoor area that's perfect for wolfing it all down.
The Yellow Rose menu is basically a greatest hits list for now, but as you would expect from someone who spent so many years at Superiority, Dave is always coming up with new stuff to serve as well (Spanish Arancini, for example, makes an appearance with some regularity). There are three tacos, and all of them are terrific. My favorite might be Bean and Cheese, a wonderfully gloppy mess of refried pintos and shredded cheddar that, in addition to just tasting really good, feels weirdly nostalgic.
The Carne Guisada Taco features chunks of tender beef simmered in a potent dried chili gravy—this is almost as brothy, and hearty, as a stew—and the Chicken Verde Taco is stuffed with shredded bird, slick with green sauce and covered in cotija. Dave's freshly-made flour tortillas have real heft to them, which is good news because the fillings are ladled on with reckless abandon.
Maybe even better than the tacos, though, is Dave's Hominy Fideo Soup, a dish which I'd never had before this summer but now have eaten three times. I'm smitten. This is a hearty, fiery concoction thick with noodles, puffed-up kernels of hominy corn, bits of celery and radish, all in a guajillo chili broth, and it's absolutely delicious. The Bowl O' Beef Chili is fantastic as well, a chunky blend of meat and beans in a complex, spicy sauce, thickened with melting cheese and cilantro crema.
Don't sleep on desserts either, which are made by the extremely talented Darcy Spence, also formerly of Superiority Burger. Spence mixes it up quite a bit, but I guarantee you'll like whatever it is she's made that day, whether gooey Hibiscus Bars or cinnamony Marranitos or, if you're really lucky, slices of spectacular Pecan Pie. Beer, cider, and bottled cocktails by Krystiana are available as well.
Yellow Rose is located at 103 Third Avenue, between 13th and 12th Streets, and is currently open on Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m, and on Sunday from 8 a.m. (breakfast tacos alert!) to 3:00 p.m. (212-529-8880; yellowrosenyc.com)