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May 22, 2006 05:33 PM

Authentic Mexican in Fairfield or Westchester Counties

  • e

I'm looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant in the area that has any/all of the following:

Tacos al pastor

I'd appreciate any suggestions.

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  1. Just had a terrific Mexican meal at a restaurant in Tuckahoe called Poblano Burrito. Not fancy at all, but full selection of well-priced Mexican beers, terrific soft tacos with filling ranging from spicy pork, chorizo, the regulars of chicken and ground beef, and my personal favorite beef tongue. Salsa is fresh and full of cilantro, not even closely proximate to the slop sold in jars. The guacamole was creamy with spice and again cilantro. Grilled beef burritos were very large and inexpensive as well, with well seasoned rice and beans. It is a small place with no ambience, but is a very authentic and well needed addition to lower Westchester.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jland

      I would LOVE to see more posts on the Westchester County authentic Mexican scene.

      Best place I've found in the last year is over in Sparkill, NY (Rockland County) - small bodega across from the main town square park. Excellent tortilla soup, fresh entrees, etc. and very affordable- would love a place like this in 30-45 minute driving range without the trip across the TZ Bridge! But when I go, I do take along my dad, so that's a nice reason to travel so far for cheap food in a time of expensive gas and tolls.

      1. re: Nancy C

        Do you happen to know the name or address of the place you mentioned? I don't really know Rockland county too well. If you know the name of a nearby business, I can look up the address to get directions to the general area. Thanks.

        1. re: E

          La Bamba is the name - look up Sparkill in old posts, you find some info.

      2. re: Jland

        I am surprised you got a decent meal at Poblano Burrito. I have been going there every now and then since they opened, since I live nearby, and think they are only mediocre. I found an absence of flavor. I only go there when I don't feel like driving to White Plains to places like Veracruz and La Neuva Puebla.

        1. re: JMF

          I would agree with this. We went the other night. It was ok, better than most (which are horrible), but not great or fantastic. I'll stick with Tomitillo in Dobbs (a five minute drive) vs Poblano which was a 15 minute drive.

      3. This was just discussed in another thread on this board. See link below.

        To summarize: Port Chester.


        6 Replies
        1. re: cteats

          I noticed the thread you mentioned, but it doesn't directly address what I'm looking for. I've been to most of the restaurants mentioned in the other thread. While some offer good food, none that I've eaten at have particularly authentic Mexican fare. I prefer the food of Central Mexico (DF, QRO, GTO, SLP). I'm particularly interested in finding someplace that has real tacos al pastor (cooked on a spit, corn tortilla, fresh pineapple, cilantro, and raw onion). I also love barbacoa (cooked in a pit with goat or lamb). I don't know whether there is any place in the area that sells these types of food or not. I don't care much about how fancy the place is. So long is it is clean, I'll eat out of someone's garage if they can sell me good authentic Mexican cuisine. Thanks.

          1. re: E

            unfortunately, you just won't find exactly what you are looking for in Westchester or fairfield county. 99% of the mexican population out here is from puebla. not places where you will find barbacoa.

            tacos al pastor like you mention are only available in NYC. the link below is a recent thread that captured a lot of the places.

            out here, the places I just mentioned in my post above will get you fairly close, however. We've come a long ways in the past 10 years. however, we don't have a great regional distribution of mexican food out here yet.

            for what it is worth, I don't know that you'll find pit-cooked barbacoa anywhere in this country except texas. I've eaten my way all around california (where I grew up) and I've never seen pit-cooked barbacoa.


            1. re: adamclyde

              Thanks for the info. Maybe its time for one of us to start up a restaurant ;-)

              1. re: E

                trust me... I've thought of this for ages. My dream restaurant out here would be either tacos baja ensenada (in east l.a.) or el gallo giro a southern california chain that has just amazing food (not a gringo place).

                but try tortilleria los gemelos. It is above average and is really competent.

                then, when in queens, check out coatzingo. It really is good, like the other folks in that post mentioned.

              2. re: adamclyde

                Are you suggesting that they don't make barbacoa in Puebla? Barbacoa de Puebla is very well known and highly regarded. it is considered one of the basic foods of Puebla!

                1. re: markethej

                  not at all. I'm suggesting they don't make barbacoa here like they do in mexico. At least not anywhere I've ever seen. The barbacoa I've found here has never been much worth eating. Here it's generally glorified stewed goat or pork with loads of sauce, but nothing earthy, smoky or "barbacoa" about it.

          2. The link cteats sent is a good recap of the fairfield county places.

            in westchester, you sort of have two options. port chester or new rochelle. I'll leave the new rochelle update to Pat Hammond or Kydd or some of our other good new rochelle experts (Pat can tell you about the best pozole around).

            regarding your specific requests, you won't find good or authentic barbacoa around (not that I'm looking for cow head cooked in an underground pit; I just wish we could get a good substitute). el zarape in port chester sells barbacoa. However, it just isn't that good. If you are having a true hankering, it could suffice, but it sure isn't perfect.

            I still think the best tacos (and best all around mexican place) are at tortilleria los gemelos in port chester. the place isn't quite as good as it used to be but is still more consistent and higher quality than any other place around. they've done some pandering to garner a more non-mexican audience (festivities for cinco de mayo, etc.). However, so far, (and luckily) they haven't dumbed down their food. the tacos al pastor are pretty good there. But it is the carnitas and birria tacos and sopes are the best things to get there. I'm not sure how much you really like tacos al pastor. I'm sort of obsessed with them. to be done completely right, they really need to be done on a spit. Unfortunately, you won't find any place around here that does it that way. As far as I can tell, there are less than 10 places in the whole tri-state area that do it that way, and they are all in queens and brooklyn (well, one in manhattan, but I didn't like them, so they don't count). If you want the NYC places, let me know.

            I've also had chilaquiles and pozole at los gemelos. The chilaquiles were pretty good (I had them with salsa rojo) and very spicy. Good stuff. You'll like them. The pozole was pretty good, but not as revelatory as Pat Hammond describes her favorite mexican place in new rochelle. I'd go there first for pozole.

            There are also some mexican places in White Plains. They are small tacquerias, but have some interesting regionally-based mexican (cancun/veracruz) food. That said, I think the places in Port chester are better overall.

            Anyhow, good luck and enjoy.

            14 Replies
            1. re: adamclyde

              The red pozole at The Little Mexican Cafe in New Rochelle is very good, but it's available only on the weekends. I get it at the bar and find that if I want some dried oregano to sprinkle on it, I have to ask for it. I haven't been in yet since the weather cooled down, so this isn't an up to the minute report. I've not eaten menudo in New Rochelle, just Los Gemelos in Port Chester.

              It's with a heavy heart that I report two unsatisfactory taco lunches at El Michoacano. The first time, no grilled onions, but raw instead. The grilled onions distinguish these tacos above others. The second time, just plain dry carnitas. I don't know what's happened because it was the same man working the grill as usual. He recognized me, nodded hello, and gave me dry tacos. I'll go back again. Maybe he's been depressed, or something.

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                wow, I hope it's just a few off nights, but it's not very encouraging, is it? Especially considering mexican places are notorious for their inconsistency from visit to visit, and their all too frequent descent into down hill status. Let's hope that isn't the case with michoacano.

                So is little mexican cafe or mexican corner restaurant your favorite place for pozole? I'd remembered the latter being the place you used to talk up on this board, but your comment above makes it seem like I confused the too...

                1. re: adamclyde

                  The Corner Cafe for sopes, Little Mexican Cafe for pozole.

                2. re: Pat Hammond

                  I have to sadly report that my Michoacano carnitas experience was not so fabulous either. Went it for take-out and ordered a couple of carnitas tacos along with a carnitas sincronizada. Paid and when I returned home I had the sincronizada but no carnitas tacos . Live too far to have gone back. The sincronizada was just okay. The carnitas inside were not particularly wonderful, a little bland, dry and was obvious they had never been crisped. They did send some of the yummy pickled carrots, jalapeno and radishes that were served complimentarily to the diners eating in which was a very nice take-out touch.

                  I too like the pozole at Cafe just a bit better than Corners but my overall Corner experiences have been better. I agree that Corner makes the best sopes hands-down.

                  1. re: Pat Hammond

                    El MIch. is back! I drove by today, not even hungry, but decided to stop in for one carnitas taco to take home. In the car I couldn't resist peeking to see if there were grilled onions. Yes! a whole pile of them. Nice plump taco, not too wet, not too dry. At home, a squeeze of lime and some of their good red salsa, and I was very happy. It was as good as the best I remember. New young man on the grill, too.

                      1. re: laylag

                        Hope it warrants a trip for you. I always check the bag before leaving, especiallly if they're busy. And yes, Little Mexican Cafe is the place for pozole. By the way, the Corner Cafe also has passable tamales from time to time. Sometimes I just need a tamale and they're scarce around here.

                        1. re: Pat Hammond

                          have you ever seen any tamale vendors around new rochelle? I don't know I've ever had great tamales from a restaurant. They are always from the nice lady in her cart. Or, as is often the case, the nice abuelita sells them to the local restaurant to resell.

                          Paleteria Fernandez in Port Chester sells some decent tamales, supplied by a nice lady. I wonder if New Rochelle has any sort of thing going on?

                          1. re: adamclyde

                            Adam, Pat, Give Juarez Grocery in Mamaroneck a try on Sunday morning -- trust me. They're good. Get one chicken mole and one dulce. They're from someone's abuelita I'm sure.

                            If there are any like that in New Rochelle, especially on the other six days a week, I'd love to hear about it.

                            1. re: laylag

                              I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me where in Mamroneck it is? I'm out of town this Sunday, but I'll go at my first opportunity. I've found they freeze well, and could buy a bunch of them.

                                1. re: adamclyde

                                  Thanks, Adam, that's easy! Thanks to Fooddrink, too. Sal's, I know well, and I hear they have a new gelato shop now. Definitely worth a trip!

                            2. re: adamclyde

                              If there are, I haven't seen or heard of them and I've asked around. But I do get to Port Chester! There might be some in Mt. Vernon, but don't know for sure.

                              1. re: Pat Hammond

                                They are located in the shopping part of Mamaroneck Ave across the street from Sal's Pizza.

                  2. There's a little hole-in-the-wall place in White Plains, called Flores Deli. I've only gone twice so far, since I just moved into the area. The first time, I had 2 tacos, one w/steak and avocado, and the other w/pork and nopalito. They were quite good. The second time, I just had tortilla chips and guacamole, as a snack on the run. The chips were freshly cooked and delicious, and the guac, though very tasty, needed a squirt of lemon. The owner was very friendly, and proudly showed me his back garden area, which was small, but looked like a nice al fresco option.

                    BTW, their menu lists everything you mentioned except barbacoa and menudo.

                    Flores Deli
                    10 Cross Street (off Central Ave just north of TJ Maxx)
                    White Plains, NY

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: LisaM

                      great tip. thank you. I'll head there for lunch today, if I can get away.

                      1. re: adamclyde

                        Please give us a little review, if you have a chance. Also, do they do takeout/delivery? Thanks.

                        1. re: fritzy

                          I took my chips and guac to go, and their menu states, "Free delivery - $15.00 minimum." I would call and ask how far they are willing to travel.

                        2. re: adamclyde

                          I look forward to your review!

                        3. re: LisaM

                          They also make excellent tortas and cemitas. They're not cheap ($7 or so) but they're enormous and filled with loads of tasty stuff.

                          1. re: LisaM

                            Flores Deli was renamed Gourmet Laguna over the summer (2009). It seems to have a new chef and a (slightly) revised menu, but largely the same wait staff. The food is very authentic, reasonably priced, and pretty good, but not as outstanding as it used to be. Sit out back if you can.

                            Flores Deli
                            10 Cross St, White Plains, NY 10606

                          2. sorry i dont know the name, but there is a little restaurant in white plains off lake street, i think it's on n. kensico (the first right after texaco if you are coming from north broadway, it's next to a minimart and across from a chinese restaurant). they make terrific tacos. ive had chicken, al pastor, and carnitas tacos. they come on two thin corn tortillas with raw onion, cilantro, a little lime, some hot green sauce, and sometimes advocado. they are delicious, and at $2 each, a good deal. also, if you go for lunch, for $5 you can get a half roasted chicken that they roast in the back, some rice, tripe, tamales, simmering chicken, all sorts of stuff. really good.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jon

                              I think it is called la nueva puebla, its a combo mexican dominican place ("carribean mexican cuisine", I think they call it).

                              Pretty good tacos. The other items are mostly dominican in nature, I've found. Their tamales are good - kind of weird, sort of like mexican, but prepared in a dominican way.

                              1. re: adamclyde

                                yeah, that's the name. definitely try the half roasted chicken during lunch. it is fantastic. all of the tacos are made in the back by a little old lady.