Bon Appetit’s Matt Duckor weighs in on El Toro Blanco
Whether I’m sitting down for dinner with my girlfriend at our neighborhood taco dive or at one of the country’s growing crop of ambitious Mexican restaurants, two things happen. First off, I immediately order a round of mezcal margaritas (yeah, I sub out tequila for its smoky, leathery cousin). Then I reach for a tortilla chip from the basket that is always on the table. But about three-quarters of the time, something goes terribly wrong. The chips are cold.
And cold chips make us sad.
One spot where this never happens is NYC’s El Toro Blanco, whose owners—John McDonald and Josh Capon, the crew behind Lure and B&B—fully understand the importance of a hot chip. Theirs always land on my table warm.
Think about warm chips in terms of warm bread, says Capon: “There’s a big difference between getting a cold roll and a warm roll. If I get a warm roll, I know I’m getting into something good.”
How does a restaurant keep those chips toasty? With an unsung but essential machine: the chip warmer.
Picture a stainless-steel ice chest, but one that keeps those delicious fried triangles at a perfect 175 degrees. At El Toro Blanco, they’ve installed a Carter-Hoffman CW1 capable of holding 20 gallons of chips. Yeah, pretty serious. An “exclusive heat duct baffling system” (consider us baffled) keeps chips toasty on two fronts: through a rear duct and up through a grate below the chips.