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Jul 20, 2006 02:56 PM

Best Mexican food in NYC

Okay, we've debated Thai - let's go to my other love - Mexican food. I'm from south Texas, so obviously this is of great importance to me. So far, the best I've encountered is Rosa Mexicano (Lincoln Center) - though it's not your traditional, down and dirty Tex Mex, it's the best derivation I've found (and I love their queso flameado and margaritas).

What are your faves?

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  1. Are you asking about Tex-Mex or Mexican? Different animals.

    My favorite Mexican is Zarela, but I'm looking forward to trying her son Aaron's new Centrico. I don't really like Tex-Mex.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Peter Cherches

      Zarela? Really? I used to eat there many years ago, but recent reports have it heading way downhill and not worth going to anymore.

      1. re: saeyedoc

        For some reason Bruni seems to have it in for Zarela. Anyway, on recent visits the snapper hash, cochinita de pibil & lamb barbacoa were all great, as was the pan de arroz.

        1. re: Peter Cherches

          That's good to hear. I've been cooking with her recipes for almost 20 years and will be back in the city next month.

          1. re: Peter Cherches

            I went to Zarela's about 2 yrs ago and all the food was really well prepared and excellent. But the Pan de Arroz.... I was stuffed from all the other stuff but could not in good conscience leave even one piece; it was that good. Never had anything like it before.

        2. re: Peter Cherches

          I have been to Centrico with my fiance, and I really enjoyed it. The food was very well done. The desserts were very bad though...we had a molten chocolate cake and it came out fully cooked and way too hot...we sent it back and the same thing happened again.

          I hope they fixed their desserts, but the food itself was outstanding.

        3. Best I've had is Downtown Bakery - really only a takeout place but it is the only place I've been to in Manhattan that comes close to the flavor of San Diego.

          3 Replies
          1. re: wingman

            Tell more. Donde esta Downtown Bakery?

            1. re: xavier

              downtown bakery is great. 1st Ave between 4th and 5th.

              totally cheap & cheerful.

              mole tacos for $6 are my weekly ritual.

              1. re: mas

                I just had Downtown Bakery last night. The chicken mole burrito is my absolute favorite. The chorizo burrito is great too.

                Downtown Bakery
                69 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          2. i have not spent much time in mexico (or south texas for that matter) so i can't chime in on authenticity. my comments are solely on food, ambiance, service in general.

            i did eat at centrico once and thought it was decent. i'd say it's on par w/ zarela.

            i'm not a big rosa mexicano fan.

            you may try mi cocina (hudson/jane) - falls under the "good but not memorable" category, but they do have a nice garden and varied menu.

            1. Two places: Mercadito and Alma.

              I've only been to Mercadito on Ave B, so I can't speak for the 7th Ave location, but it was pretty good. Not absolutely one hundred percent the best I've ever been to, but pretty decent, food fairly fresh, and small portions allowing you to try more. Their queso fundido was good, and I love their huevos rancheros. Their drinks are amazing.

              Alma is definitely my favorite. It's in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a trek for most, but it's so worth it. The view is amazing, the food is great, lots of options (I adore their chilaquiles), and portions generous.

              I've also heard great things about Castro's, in E Williamsburg/Bushwick. Confirmations?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sunnidae

                Mercadito is nowhere near the "down and dirty Tex Mex" the OP mentioned. They're more of a fusion-y upscaling of a baja-inflected cuisine. Problem is they take the fruit way, way too far. When I went it was with a group of 6. Tried all the ceviches, all the guacs, many of the tacos. The only one worth mentioning was the battered baja fish tacos, which were indeed superb, but not what a Texan is likely to be familiar with.

                1. re: Sunnidae

                  Alma, the place that charges extra for rice and beans even with an entree? Surely you jest, or Sunnidae should, along with Shirley and many others of us. The place where an herb crusted fish on the menu when ordered is delivered in a substitute form -- they went with fennel. Now for those not acquainted, it's akin to NyQuil-lacqured fish - yummy! My 'clean plate club' gold star dinner left his untouched. One bit maybe, gag inducing. Then that tab , eek! If you must go, get drinks, any are fine, chip and salsa, enjoy the view upstairs on nice evenings and move ON for an edible meal.

                2. Last time I went to Zarela, we were all underwhelmed, and one of us found his food literally inedible. He sent it back and was so disheartened that he didn't even order a salad or something to replace it. Cafe Frida was disappointing as well.