Review By: Stefanie Parks –
We had plans to go on a double date with one of Dave’s friends and her husband (yes, I know we’ve been going on a lot of double dates lately). After looking through our list, she said that she’s been wanting to try Matilda and asked if we could go there. To be honest, I had no idea what “Tuscan and Mexican Cuisine” meant or how it was possible to successfully mix those two, but a friend of mine had recommended it, so we figured we’d give it a shot.
We made the hike down to Alphabet City, and the second we walked in, we were already pleasantly surprised. Matilda was a very cute restaurant and we were seated at a great table in the back. First things first, we immediately placed our orders for the guacamole and salsa. Both were really great. As soon as the guac came out, I realized just how Italian and Mexican could successfully be combined. They had substituted the cilantro for basil, and well that is pretty much my dream come true. They also brought out bread in addition to the chips. I couldn’t really get myself to eat “guac and bread” so I stuck to the chips, but hey, I get what they were trying to do. The guac was fantastic. The salsa was equally great. It was spicy, but not too spicy, and it had a very different flavor than the salsa I’m used to. I guess that must have been the Italian influence. I think I like this combo!
Then, Dave and I ordered some tacos. On the menu it says “Tacos (2 pc).” We assumed we could mix and match, but I guess we were wrong or we just had a little miscommunication with our waiter. We ordered the Tacos Alla Florentina (with rosemary medium rare steak, arugala, and shaved grana padano) and the Tacos De Mariscos (with shrimp and monkfish in a tomato and chipotle sauce). We thought that we were getting one of each, but we got two of each, which ended up being totally fine. The Tacos Alla Florentina were just ok, but I loved the Tacos De Mariscos. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had monkfish before, but I loved it and I loved it in combination with everything else in the dish.
We also ordered the Chalupitas Di Polenta appetizer which are round polenta crostinis topped with chorizo, mushrooms, and crema fresca. I couldn’t really tell if this dish was more Mexican, Italian, neither or both, but either way, it was very good. Dave doesn’t like mushrooms so he wasn’t as into it, but I thought it was great. The polenta on the bottom was crunchy and a little sweet, which was a good balance with the very salty chorizo.
Lastly, for our entree, we ordered the Fajitas with chicken and steak (they let us do a combo). The waiter said the chicken was the best and he was right. The steak wasn’t great, in fact, it was a little chewy and over-cooked, but the chicken was awesome. The dish didn’t come out on one of those sizzling platters like you usually see when you order fajitas (or rice and beans either), but regardless, it was good. Next time though, I’d just go with the chicken.
Matilda is definitely not your average bottomless chips and salsa, sizzling fajita plate with rice and beans on the side kind of Mexican place that I love, but it was a fun restaurant and all of the food was great. Definitely somewhere I would recommend if you’re in the mood for Mexican but want something a little nicer.