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Aug 9, 2003 12:56 PM

Big Enchilada Returns

  • t

The Big Enchilada at 28 East 12th Street has returned--as The Enchilada. The menu looks pretty much the same, the dining area seems to have expanded a bit (it couldn't have gotten much smaller), and the people inside were all smiling.

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    Natasa Sevoleva

    Any news on the 28th at 3rd location?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Natasa Sevoleva

      The Enchilada has the same phone number as The Big Enchilada did, so, presumably, it still has the same owners. The 28th Street edition's phone remains disconnected.

      In other Mexican fast-food news, Chipotle (a McDonald's Mexican endeavor) will open its first Manhattan branch. I've heard good things about this chain from spies in Kansas City who know a thing or two about good Tex-Mex. The NY edition will be on 44th and Lexington, across from Grand Central, and it opens any minute.

      1. re: Tom Steele

        they're building on on saint marks too...

        1. re: sarahoc

          eeeeewwww. St. marks just got a Quiznos sub outlet, too. Damn. And they had driven the Gap out of business down there...

        2. re: Tom Steele

          we actually enjoyed the ground beef burritos from big enchilada as a sort of pig-out-on-sloppy-food experience. unfortunately (it was a fortunate situation for our bellies) they started refusing delivery to us. we lived about 3 avenue blocks away from there and ordered all the time - they one day decided that we were about 10 feet out of delivery range. i guess their business was brisk enough for them to refuse service to us. oh well, but the food was decent.

      2. What is the big deal about this place? I went once and it bore no relationship to real Mexican food.

        Am I missing something? What should I order?

        7 Replies
        1. re: frankie lee

          I hope no one is offended by this, and I hope it doesn't make me a bad host to say so, but Big Enchilada is, in my opinion, one of the three or four most awful restaurants I know in the entire city. Its not only bad Mexican food, I find it bad in every other respect, too.

          This is just my opinion, of course. But I do feel compelled to inject it into the conversation, because others who share it are too shy to do so. Which is a shame, because while I can understand reluctance to contradict other posters, Chowhound can't possibly work if we don't all feel free to politely chime in with dissenting views. It's essential for our mix.


          1. re: Jim Leff

            I was no fan of The Big Enchilada, either, but I wouldn't put it among the 3-4 worst restaurants in NYC. There are plenty of totally horrendous Greek (or other) Big-Greasy-Plastic-Menu diner places all over the city that demonstrate such total indifference to the very basics of good food preparation--they deserve to be run out of town, and they usually are, by the forces of natural selection and mounting overhead.

            Someone noted the demise of The Big Enchilada several weeks ago, and I live nearby and noticed the reopening the other day, so I felt it my duty to report it.

            1. re: Tom Steele

              Hey, Tom...nothing personal at all, just chiming an opinion into the mix re: a restaurant whose name I see coming up.


              1. re: Jim Leff

                I'm not sure that the Big Enchilada was aiming to be among the city's best -- but for the impecunious and hungry it was real find. It was pretty tasty and the ingredients were fairly fresh...I miss it...

                1. re: kiki aru
                  Natasa Sevoleva

                  My first visit there (28th location only)in 1996/1997. I was told by my 'friend' who brought me there to order a #43 - two blue corn tortilla with ground beef, sides of red beans, rice, salad, sour cream, guacamole, etc. Authenticity is not in question. I see it as non-authentic Mexican, but typically authentic "New York Mexican", a cuisine of its own. I visited again and ordered something else (don't recall what, blech!). It was two years before I returned again. By the recommendation of a 'friendÂ’ and remembering my second visit, I returned and ordered a #43. It was just as ok as the first visit. Visiting the place again three times since 2000, I agree with Jim Leff.

            2. re: Jim Leff

              I don't think anyone is offended, but I do think you need to say more. Particularly if you're going to make such a harsh criticism of the place. I mean, I know it's your site and all, but those are some pretty strong words!

              I actually like(d) the Big Enchilada--or at least the burritos. And this from an insufferable SF burrito fanatic who has sampled the best of what the Bay Area has to offer. I'm certainly not suggesting that Big Enchilada is anywhere near that league, but the beans and rice are nice, which is more than most NY burrito places can claim. My only complaint is that you have to eat their burritos with a knife and fork.

              1. re: awilmar

                I hear you, awilmar, but I think most of us don't put a lot of attention into places that deliver awful experiences. If I were there to review it, that'd be different. Same if it were a much-loved place garnering much attention, and I wanted to try to undestand the disjoint.

                But if you go in a place and get a bunch of stuff you're unable to take a second bite of, you don't spend lots of time probing and theorizing. You just throw it out (as I did). And when you report the experience to friends who stare at you in wild-eyed disbelief that you'd darkened the doorway of a notoriously awful eatery, you figure it wasn't a one-time problem.

                I apologize that I can't be more specific. And I apologize further for being a bad host by deeming vile a place some hounds like. But, shoot, I feel obliged to offer my dissenting view. I certainly don't mean anything personally by it, and hope I've not made anyone uncomfortable! Differing tastes make the world go 'round!

                Yours in varying mileage,


                ps--I'll go back, promise. And will eat crow if I find it so much as acceptable.