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Mar 29, 2004 12:15 PM

miffed at mexican in port chester... what happened to the flavor?

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OK, so I can't seem to find a really good mexican meal in Port Chester anymore...

I've been scouting out some new Mexican places in PC lately. Two things are clear: there is no doubt there is an abundant authentic mexican places around. But secondly, and more importantly, authentic and tasty aren't necessarily syonymous, unfortunately. Three examples:

La Zarape. This used to be the little pizza place (Brothers Pizza, I think) that doubled as a taqueria. It is on the main drag, just before you get to Midland Ave. Now they have shed the pizzeria facade (and changed their name) to focus only on mexican fair. I went today for lunch and had carnitas and barbacoa tacos. Both were ok, but neither particularly tasty. Simply, they lacked that deep flavor you are looking for in Mexican food. The barbacoa was tender, but flavorless and the carnitas taco was rather dry. The place does have a good selection of huaraches, sopes and tortas, which deserve a testing.

La Kiosko (or something like that). It is a new place on Westchester Ave, across the street from the La Flor Bakery (a block up from Tortilleria Los Gemelos). They have an odd menu, with mexican, italian and american stuff. I would have probably avoided the place altogether, but they had some dishes on their special menu that are fairly uncommon dishes in these parts, like molotes. So I thought it may have some promise. But again, I was disappointed. The molotes had very little flavor, as did a few of the tacos. I haven't been back yet to try the tacos or other items, but frankly, I'm a little hesitant.

Luis' Mexican - on the corner of Willow and the Boston Post Road. The other places were just ok, this place was actually bad. The carnitas had an off flavor and the chorizo was really dry. In its defense, I think I went there the first week it opened, last august, but with my experience, I haven't been clamoring to return.

What is happening? Am I missing something? With all the upstart mexican places in the area, surely there must be a few transcendent dishes.

I know there is the tortilleria los gemelos (formerly el paisano), and yes, you can still get a good meal there. But it just doesn't seem to be the crown jewel it once was. Not really sure what it is, but it just doesn't seem to be up to its old wonderful self.That said it is still the best place around and I still crave its carnitas tacos and the birria sopes...

I also need to head down to New Rochelle to try the pozole at the place Pat Hammond has been raving about... on my list to go next. And I still think Rolando's in Stamford has the best Tortas around. And White Plains has a few places that serve more obscure regional dishes that deserve discovering. Yet, the Port Chester issue is baffling me. Any advice?

- Adam

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  1. I haven't been to Port Chester for a while, because New Rochelle is just down the road, but man, I'm bummed to hear that the tortilleria has gone downhill. I'm not familiar with the other places you mention.

    If you come to New Rochelle for pozole, come on Sunday. I think it's better. Maybe it's one big batch that simmers and melds over the weekend. That's the only time they have it, so far as I know. They put lots of garnishes on it, but if you like oregano sprinkled on it, you may have to ask for it. I think their tortas are good, but I don't have much to compare them with. I like to sit at the bar when I'm by myself. I like their fruit shakes too.

    Good produce too, at the little market next to Payless Shoes. 'Tis the season for green garbanzos! Pat

    5 Replies
    1. re: Pat Hammond

      I'll definitely have to try it out. Sounds very appetizing... but Sunday won't work. Do you think they serve it on Saturdays as well?

      I don't know if tortilleria is really downhill, but I'm just not leaving there as satisfied as I used to. I'm really curious in other's recent opinions. Like I said though, it is still better than any of the others around there...

      Thanks for the tips on New Rochelle, though. Driving through there a while back looked like there are a ton of places that could have promise...

      - Adam

      1. re: adamclyde

        On Pat's recommendation, went with wife and friends to the Little Mex. Cafe Sat. a week ago. The red pozole (which, along with the white, is available Sat. and Sun.) was very good, but I could see what Pat means about it being even better on Sunday after more simmering. Also had carnitas tacos -- also very good. Wife had whole snapper and she loved it. Definitely a winner.

        1. re: Reposado

          Thanks so much for posting. I'm very glad you enjoyed it.

          1. re: Pat Hammond

            Sorry to hear about the lack of flava (as my 5 yr old says) in PC. I have ALWAYS had good food @ Las Brisas on Westchester Ave. It's on the same block as the fire house & Panda take-out. Been going there since the early 90s and really can't complain. Good carnitas & chorizo for the tacos & burros and good soup, too.

        2. re: adamclyde

          Yes, they have it both Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday being a bit better, I think.

      2. i'd have to concur about gemelos, sigh. i've been there a number of times in the last 6 months and, while i've been happy with what i've eaten, i haven't been elated as i once was.

        i'd be willing to do some exploring around new rochelle however; anyone have any leads that haven't been posted yet?