New Haven Independent
March 29, 2022
By Kimberly Wipfler
I bit into a Buffalo chicken burrito, cooled it off with a sip of mango-coolada smoothie — and my taste buds were reminded, amid a cold late-March afternoon, about what to expect from the summer flavors up ahead.
I took that sensory journey Monday afternoon at Tomatillo Taco Joint at Park and Elm, one of the 53 eateries around town participating in New Haven’s two-week annual “Restaurant Week” just getting underway.
This year’s eateries are making more of an effort to include diners who can’t foot high-two-figure meal prices, with a combination of prix-fixe $22 offerings or special discount pricing.
In Tomatillo’s case that means 15 percent off each meal, which brought my lunch to $11.65 before tax and tip.
Tomatillo’s food is made-to-order, and the website boasts its prioritization of all-natural ingredients. Those decisions paid off: The burrito — made with with cilantro-lime rice, black beans, Buffalo chicken bites, red onion lettuce, and ranch dressing — tasted fresh, with the perfect balance of both spicy and creamy.
And for those bites when the heat of the chicken got too strong for spicy-food novices, the mango-coolada smoothie was there to cool things down as to enjoy more bites. The smoothie — comprised of pineapple, coconut, orange juice, yogurt, and mango — tasted like vacation. If you closed your eyes while taking a sip, you might have forgotten for a moment all the folks bracing against the wind and snow outside.
The pandemic was hard for them, manager Bouls Kalil shared, but they’re hopeful that Restaurant Week(s) will bring new faces into their eatery, which sits on the corner of Elm and Park Streets.