Pampano Taqueria sits buried in the corner of a basement atrium of an office building at 805 Third Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets. A little cousin to chef Richard Sandoval’s finer dining establishment, Pampano, around the corner, you’re sure to get your taco – or burrito or quesadilla or torta – fix, but that’s it. My two amigos each ordered a variety of tacos, but I was stuck, as usual, not knowing what I wanted, besides three bites of everything. I turned to a random gentleman behind me who said he comes there three days a week to get a burrito. SOLD, I think to myself, until he chimed in that his friend comes there three or four times a week for the Chilorio Torta. I pause. Not being so familiar with tortas, or chilorio for that matter, I order it.
My best and easiest explanation of this torta is a Mexican sandwich, or a burrito (no rice) on a nice piece of French bread. Chilorio is basically Mexican style pulled pork. The torta was slathered with a black bean puree, some guacamole, lettuce, cheese and the pork. There was a slight mess factor to it, but not nearly as bad as I could have imagined. It came with a nice little bag of homemade tortilla chips and your choice of two salsas; one was a red habanero sauce that was nice and smooth with good heat and the other was a green tomatillo salsa, also pureed to a nice and smooth consistency, but a little more mild. Overall, I am down with the torta and I’ll be back to Pampano.