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Jan 4, 2003 01:55 PM

great Mexican in Kingston NY

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El Danzante at the start of Bwy in Kingston NY is my favorite restaurant in Ulster County. It is owned and staffed by a wonderful Mexican family.
All of the food is fresh, authentic and reasonably priced, decor is pretty much velvet bullfighter paintings and flourescent lights. Their mole poblano is great and they also offer some of the time a mole con puerco, slow simmered pork in a mole sauce.
All of the tacos and burritos are excellent, in particular the grilled shrimp burrito. A good selection of Mexican beers.

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  1. Hi, Can you be a little clearer about the location? Is the start of Broadway down near the Rondout or uptown someplace? Also, do you know the winter hours and/or have the phone number? Also, is this a new place? Thanks!

    10 Replies
    1. re: Wanda

      Hey Wanda--

      El Danzante is listed in the yellow pages, and I'm 95% sure it's near the uptown end of Broadway, by Eng's. It is a new place.


      1. re: Betsy

        Thanks, Betsy. I could't find it in our yellow pages but I got it from Information. It's 720 Broadway, uptown near where Broadway crosses Route 32, open daily for lunch and dinner. (I never would have called that the start of Broadway, I always think things start at the river, so I'm glad I checked.) I am not familiar with the location of Eng's; I vaguely remember one on Ulster/Albany Av or down by the malls. BTW, have you been to that new Chinese/Mongolian buffet place by the Home Depot? We thought some of the stuff wasn't bad for a lunch place of that sort (but skip the desserts, blech!).

        1. re: Wanda

          I agree with you that the Mid Hudson Buffet near Home Depot is a step above the norm. My wife and I had lunch there again today and it was better than ever. Some of the buffet choices included these dishes usually found in Chinatown or higher end authentic suburban Chinese restaurants: stir-fried mustard greens (flavorful and neither overcooked nor bitter), chicken with walnuts (mustard-based creamy sauce with broccoli), spicy chicken (kicked up with lots of chilis, onions and red pepper strips), calamari with black pepper (properly spicy), and steamed dim sum (loaded with ginger and garlic). In addition, on the American based food table is a wonderful simple roasted salmon filet that makes a terrific partner to the mustard greens and white rice. Fresh oranges are the best dessert choice at this time of year since the cantaloupe and honeydew are bland (they are much better during the melon season in summer). And, a guilty pleasure is their soft serve ice cream that I eat topped with those addictively sweet candied peanuts. Not a bad deal for $5.99! Lunch is a much better deal than dinner (which adds some undistinguished shrimp and pretty dreadful spare ribs). And, timing is everything since most of these places can be inconsistent; go when the parking lot is most crowded (Friday, Saturday or Sunday between noon and 1 p.m.) and you will have the best chance of scoring the freshest food.

          1. re: Scott Gordon

            I've always had some trepidation about eating in all you can eat places, yet I love the idea of eating myself into oblivion. After my concern about exploding after eating too much, I wonder about the quality of the food. Even spending $5.95 for lunch is no joy if the food is poor. Kingston area is filled with Chinese all you can eat places. I do want to try some, and I think I will check out Mid Hudson Buffet. Scott, I like your idea of timing my visit to match a time when there are many customers and the food is fresh. Do you know any other pigout places in the area where the food is good quality.

            1. re: Cal F

              There was (and still may be) a Chinese all-you-can-eat in the Marshall's mall on the same road, and we thought that one was pretty awful, greasy, made me a little ill. I tried it some years ago, and I assure you, I would never have tried another without a rec from the very same friend who, like me, hated the first! Still I was surprised by the good quality of this Mongolian one by the Home Depot. I only hope it stays that good! Chinese places in the mid- to upper Hudson Valley do have a habit of deteriorating, perhaps because of too many un-demanding patrons.

              1. re: Wanda

                There is still the Chinese buffet in the Kings Mall (where Marshalls is) but it's not nearly as good as the Mid-Hudson Buffet (Home Depot). Like Wanda, I never would have gone but I attended a function there for work and was really pleasantly surprised. As far as other "all-you-can-eat" things, the Mountain Gate Indian restaurant in Woodstock has a buffet on Tuesday nights, but that's all that comes to mind, outside of the usual Chinese places...

                1. re: Betsy

                  I think the Indian in Red Hook, Red Hook Curry House, has an all-you-can-eat buffet twice a week, maybe Sunday lunch and either Tuesday or Wednesday dinner? We haven't tried it, since we never liked the all-you-can-eat in the old place (S of Rhinebeck) as much as ordering off the menu, though it was still OK. (Nothing like that awful Chinese in Marshall's mall) Most Indian places seem to have these all-you-can-eat buffets, don't they?

                  The Jamaican restaurant we went to in Albany, a simple, hearty place on Washington Av just above Lark, had a pretty good-looking lunch buffet, very reasonably priced. But because of our all-you-can-eat-buffet prejudices, we had already ordered off the menu before we checked it out.

                  There are some all-you-can-brunches around the Kingston area, esp Sundays, but the restaurant ones are not all that cheap, are they?

                  1. re: Wanda

                    The buffet at the Curry House is worth checking out for 10.99 on Tues (especially as a prelude to discount movies at the Lyceum), though I didn't try it at their old location. It's definitely grounded in the "good for around here" category, but the lamb and the chick peas are consistently tasty (mercifully, they switch sauces from week to week). Hopefully at some point they will simplify the 10-frozen-veg amalgam and sauce up some fresh cauliflower or the like. Until then, have some decent chai and enjoy the extremely convivial Tuesday night atmosphere.

              2. re: Cal F

                The other Chinese buffets in Kingston, one in the Marshalls/Home Goods/Mother Earths plaza and the other near the uptown Hannafords, are mediocre at best. Mid Hudson Buffet is the top choice. I forgot to mention that they always feature a couple of more good vegetable dishes: crisp stir fried string beans and a nice Buddhist delight (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, tofu, etc.). As usual, these are best right out of the kitchen.

                The only other "pig out" that I can think of in this area is the lunch special at the Artemis (formally the Gateway) Diner near the Exit 19 traffic circle. These range from $3.95 to $6.95 for a bowl of homemade soup, some type of large sandwich with a potato side, and a big portion of a homemade dessert. The last time out I had the following: top-notch thick lentil soup, a Greek style grilled chicken wrap with the sauce on the side (a cross of Tzatziki and Italian dressing) and a large serving of hot french fries with a requested side dish of brown gravy (no extra charge), and a big bowl of delicious rice pudding. This set me back $5.95 and I went home with half of the sandwich for the next day. Good hearty food and a lot of it for not much money. Not quite the "pig out" of the buffet, but certainly a belly buster.

                1. re: Scott Gordon

                  Ah Scott, I know of the belly-buster lunch of which you speak!! That's a lotta food! I work in the Uptown Kingston area, so I'm well acquainted with Artemis. The soups are great, and we always used to take our dessert to go--a practice they have recently stopped. If you get a cheaper lunch special, like the grilled cheese and tomato, you get all you mentioned for even less, like $3.95. Artemis is not my favorite--I prefer the Texas Lunch on Ulster Avenue--but for lunch specials, the Artemis can't be beat.

      2. well, i was up in kingston yesterday, and decided to take someone's suggestion of armadillo's for lunch.

        i just had something simple - steak / cheese quesadilla - and it was perfectly cooked with spices; on the plate was a mixture of fruit (!) and in a separate basket was brought a tomato/onion mixture common in most mexican restaurants, and 3 other things which i didn't care for, but i've never seen before and had interesting tastes.

        the nacho basket came with 2 sauces; a spicy tomato/chipotle, and a green tomato thin sauce. when i asked what they were, his preface was 'this isn't guacamole', which i knew instantly from the taste. cool and refreshing...

        we both liked santa fe in red hook, and this is pretty comparable to that.

        5 Replies
        1. re: bob gaj

          You mean Santa Fe in Tivoli? Or have they opened one in Red Hook? (I believe it's the same owner as Memphis Ribs in Red Hook)

          I think Santa Fe in Tivoli is even less traditional but equally good as Armadillo. However, it was so noisy when we were there that friends just don't want to go. That actually happened once at Armadillo too; too big a bar crowd. We come home hoarse trying to talk!

          1. re: Wanda
            Mike in Rhinebeck

            I've only been to Santa Fe once (it's in Tivoli, not Red Hook) and I share Wanda's observation about the noise. It was a Friday night, though - so perhaps on other nights it's not so crowded. I also found it dark - so dark that my wife recalls it as "the place she couldn't see her food."

            The Armadillo, on the other hand, is delightful. we've been there with the kids about 5-6 times and only found it crowded and noisy once. our last visit was a Saturday night at 6:00 pm and we were seated right away. while some entrees can be a bit pricey, everything is very well done. several of their regular dishes and often their nightly specials have an Asian flair to them - I had a medium rare tuna steak with wasabi on the side and jasmine rice one night! with regard to the kids, the kitchen is very willing to modify the menu items in deference to the kid's likings (or dislikes!). the main problem with the Armadillo can be finding parking nearby!

            1. re: Mike in Rhinebeck

              I agree with Wanda and Mike's observations about the Santa Fe and Armadillo. I really do prefer Armadillo, it can get noisy too but at least the dining room is in the back, away from the bar. In the summertime you can eat outside too. Parking with Armadillo is a BIG problem, especially now with all the snow. I didn't really care for Santa Fe; the food was OK but it was crowded and NOISY. Plus watching the waitresses walk around on five-inch platforms made me really nervous. I kept waiting for someone to snap an ankle and for food to go flying everywhere...

            2. re: Wanda

              yes, thank you - tivoli. sorry for the mixup.

              (and, yup, it's the same owner as max's, which i still haven't been to yet).

              i asked them (armadillo) how long the wait was on weeknights, and he said 15-30 minutes; no reservations accepted, except for 6 or more people (and only because they'd have to move things around).

              definitely right about the parking; i went when no one was there (saturday lunch) and there were only 2 spots on the street. i think i would have had to park a few blocks away at a more busy time.

              any other distinctive mexican places closer to poughkeepsie i should try? like mole mole and rio bravo (? - the one on raymond) as being ok. playa del sol in wappingers is terrible...

              1. re: bobgaj

                Well, there's a tiny Mexican in Red Hook, pretty authentic, but there are very few seats, more for take out. I like it but it sometimes gives me heartburn; maybe they are using lard or some strong oil that doesn't really agree with me. It's open for lunch and really more of a lunch place.

                The Starr Bar, now maybe called Starr Cantina, in Rhinebeck, is erratic, though it can be reasonably pleasant to eat in this time of year, when not very touristy. (Truth is, they serve Dos Equis, and that is half the battle with me!) You might try the veggie, cheese, or chicken burritos or enchiladas with mole sauce. When everything is fresh, this tastes pretty good, though maybe not so authentic. Service is also erratic. Really, if you are in the car, you may as well continue to Tivoli or Kingston. BUT if you are going to the Upstate, and not in the mood for Fosters, this might be a good bet. They are also open for lunch, I think every day but I'm not sure.

                I liked the Mexican place past Woodstock when I was there, Gypsy Cantina. But that is even further afield, and it's years since I've been. Right in Woodstock itself, on the main street, I more recently (maybe last summer) had some pretty good burritos in a fairly fast place with oilcloth on tables. I also had decent Mexican in New Paltz, but that was aeons ago.

                Once in a while they have Mexican special dinner at the Culinary, but I've never been.

                BTW, Memphis Ribs in Red Hook is also erratic IMO, though we generally have liked it when we've been (not very often). It's VERY noisy at times, though. I believe its only open for dinner (last I heard, Santa Fe too is only open for dinner).

          2. We went there today for lunch--amazing menu (be prepared to wade through a LOT of choices)--pozole, mole, chorizo. Not your usual refried beans and cheese stuff. We had GREAT pork soft tacos served with a side salad of onions, tomatoes, and cukes marinated in cilantro and lime. Lots of yummy drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The folks behind us were slurping down enormous bowls of "consome," homestyle (bone-in) chicken soup.

            1. El Danzante is one of the best mexican restaraunts I have ever eaten at. Easily passed up on the menu (its printed small in the corner) is a side of guacamole. Its fantastic. not too limey, and incredibly fresh. I recommend the Chorizo (mexican sausage) as well. Its not hot, yet full of wonderful spice. The chicken flautas are phenominal. Spicy, yet sweet. I recommend the "red" sauce on them unless you are a fan of very hot food, the green will light you on fire!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Stephanie R

                I agree, El Danzante is excellent. We order out from there all of the time and all of the food is very fresh.