There’s a little bit of Texas in the East Village, in the form of a newish Tex-Mex restaurant called Yellow Rose. The restaurant captures the saloon-like vibe of a low-key bar you would find on Austin’s Sixth Street somewhere. Walking in here and looking at all the dark wood paneling reminded me of something you would find in Frontierland. The food, though, is much better than anything you would find at Disneyland (although prices are probably similarly high). If you’ve ever had a hankering for queso and good breakfast tacos, Yellow Rose should be your go-to spot.
What I like about the brunch menu in particular is how vegetarian friendly it is. When you think Texas you can’t help but think of beef, but the majority of the options at Yellow Rose are meatless. In fact, their famous queso is a vegan queso. We opted for the real cheese queso special they were offering that day, a lonestar beer queso made of oaxaca cheese, ancho oil, poblano, rice powder and pickled long hots. It came with a side of hot and crispy tortilla chips. I do have to say that queso starts off well but does not end well. At the end of the meal it was a solid, congealed mess.
One of the chefs at Yellow Rose worked at Superiority Burger, so it makes sense that vegan-oriented food is a focus here. My favorite things, however, all had at least a little egg or cheese in there. The tacos are 1 to order, which seems stingy, but they are actually pretty big. Before I get into the tacos, I have to call out the flour tortillas. People tend to embrace all things corn and turn their nose up at flour, but these flour tortillas are excellent. You can probably eat the flour tortilla plain and be pretty satisfied. We tried the bean and cheese, the migas, the potato and egg, the papas rancheras and the barbacos. The migas was the obvious standout–corn chips and scrambled eggs make for the perfect breakfast pairing. The barbacos most reflected a traditional taco, in which tender beef cheeks are deeply marinated in a sauce, but I found the meat flavor to be a bit too deep and in need of some levity.
A lot of people rave about the donuts at Yellow Rose, and I’d have to agree with them. The appeal of the donut here is that it is very simple and plain-spoken. There are no new-fangled icings on top or dense creams embedded within, just a really, really good glazed donut. Next time I’m getting these by the dozen. I’ve also heard that their sheet cake is really good, but it wasn’t offered at brunch, and I thought it might have been overkill post Thanksgiving. Yellow Rose is definitely an easy place to keep the food-bingeing going, and you’ll have no regrets about it.
102 3rd Ave (between 12th and 13th St)
New York, NY 10003