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Mole Restaurant on Lower East Side - Who has been?

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I have heard there is a new Mexican place on Allen called Mole, owned by the same who own Taco Taco uptown.
Has anyone been? What is the ambience like, and food? I hear it is a BYO.
Thanks!

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  1. Yum! The guacamole made at the table is particularly addictive. The food shows thoughtful preparation. Portions sizes are ample and the prices are cheaper than Mercadito and Rosa Mexicano. The space is small but quaint. There are no windows that open to the street but the atmosphere is festive. It is still BYOB, but there is a deli/liquor store next door.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jhdan

      Thanks! I will have to give it a try. I can be picky so hopefully the menu is ample.

    2. Does anyone know if it is open on Sundays? I really want to try this place, if you can't tell...

      1. Tried Mole today. I really don't like to eat Mexican food in NYC, it never compares to what I've had in San Diego. Mole is small (about 25 seats plus the bar). It has been open about 3 months. Owners also run Taco Taco on 2nd & 89th. I had the guacamole made tableside and my server (an architecture student from Mexico working in NYC for the summer) even asked me how much fresh jalapeno I wanted in it. The guac had a touch too much lime, but otherwise delicious! I've only had better when I've made it at home or had it in Utah or at Rosa Mexicano (all three places made it tableside!). I had a tamale with chicken wrapped in the traditional fresh banana leaves. Nice. I also had a salad with ancho crusted warm goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette. Menu said baby spinach it was actually mixed greens (with some tomato and cucumber). I broke my rule of getting the dressing on the side and the salad had too much dressing. They still do not have a liquor license so it is BYOB (not a bad thing). I definitely plan to go back and will probably try the huevos rancheros, chiles rellenos or a fish entree next. The guacamole was the best thing I had. Service was excellent. The menu is pretty extensive.

        3 Replies
        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          Sounds good, but what's the point in making the guacamole at the table? I spent almost a month in California this summer, had several great Mexican meals, and never once did anyone make the guacamole at the table.

          1. re: Pan

            The only point is you know it's fresh (taste buds can also tell you).

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Avocados oxidize.

        2. Do you know the address or phone number?

          1 Reply
          1. re: samiam123

            See here:

            -----
            Mole
            205 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

          2. Yeah there really i s no point making the guac tableside. The place is tiny and I feel bad for the guys making it because they have to bring out this giant set up and make it while others are going back and forth around him. Also don't be fooled by the prices. 9 bucks is a steal for guac but its a smaller portion. You pay the same old ridiculous price of 14$ for a serving of guac the size of what you get at Rosa's Mexicano.

            That being said, I have only been to Mole once. The BYOB thing is cool. We brought some tequila for 11 bucks and the guy behind the bar made us great margaritas with it at 4 bucks a pop. They won't charge for beer or wine though.

            My friend had the tortilla soup which tasted like canned tomato juice with thickener. I had the chicken enchiladas verde. Not nearly enough chicken and chicken is not that expensive ya know? I'm used to generous portions of Mexican food because I'm from LA. The verde was okay. I've never had good salsa verde in NY. Wouldn't order this dish again.

            The have a written menu of specials, Lupe's specials I think. I would try those instead . The refried beans and rice tasted just like home.

            1. I finally went to Mole tonight, I was skeptical because i really like mexican food and the mex food in the city is not good for some reason. I always end up going to taqueria el paso for some tacos al pasor after trying any place in manhattan. SO this time... I have to say the food was GOOD, very good, indeed. I had the chochinita pibil con chile guajillo, and it was very well done, estilo Yucatan. The guacamole is expensive but is good (i have to say that it is not better than the one at El paso taqueria. They charge you $5.50 at El paso and $9 here- and here is smaller). I did not try the tacos al pastor which is my favorite -and signature- dish but I will next time. The only 2 cons would be that (#1) it is not that moderate in terms of price (i mean, it is, but just because it is still BYOB and you can bring a good beer at a moderate price and eat well...so i'll go and go an go while it lasts). And (#2) even though they played a few good songs (i'm a musician and DJ, so now is my own freakness talking) the music was a little cosmopoLATIN (that is, kitschy), but I liked the food so much that i'm plannig to burn a nice mexicocaribenno mix cd and bring it to the owner. oh, and for some reason they put an accent over the "O", my friend told me she thought it was to avoid anglo pronunciation but i think anglophones would automatically put the stress -correctly- over the "O", so for me it is still a mystery... Sorry for the unnecessary details...The food was overall very good.

              1. Based on the extensive rave reviews, I decided to visit Mole for a celebratory dinner on Saturday night. Apparently I wasn't the only one as my party had to stand in the recess next to the front door for over 20 minutes waiting for a table. One of the small indignities of living in NYC but totally worth it to validate the rumors of life-changing rabbit and guajillo sauce!

                Once we were seated, a waitress promptly attended to us and opened up three Coronas, though it took her nearly 10 minutes and a verbal reminder to bring us the limes we requested. No matter, the man with the molcajete was coming and we were excited for the guacamole. The guac had a tad too much lime, but otherwise was good enough that I didn't much mind that the waiter didn't ask first what size we wanted, opting to serve us the (more expensive) large as a default. While my tablemates had the carnitas and pescado veracruzano, based on the waitress' suggestion, I ordered the day's special: duck enchiladas con salsa verde. She assured me it was better than even their cochinita pibil.

                I hope she's wrong, because I got two tepid enchiladas of dry duck in a timid green sauce. The dish was so cold that the cheese on top of my enchiladas had coagulated into a solid, unappetizing mass. The fish was good, but not especially convincing and remained half un-eaten on its banana leaf. The waitress had surreptitiously taken away the chipotle salsa I had been using to spike my spiceless food so I asked for another helping. Instead I received a bowl of chipotle crema which perked up my already fantastic rice and beans. I didn't come here for rice and beans, though. I came here for amazing sauces, delicious guacamole and a fun atmosphere. 2 out of 3 isn't bad, I suppose.

                The food isn't bad. It's decent, even good at times and while not "moderately priced," certainly affordable, especially considering the BYOB. I'm hoping that my first visit was just a fluke because otherwise this place is suffering from a lot of trendy hyping.

                6 Replies
                1. re: JungMann

                  Wow, my experience was very similar, also on Saturday night. Our guacamole also had a bit too much lime. The duck enchiladas were hot enough, but the duck was dry and not very flavorful. My wife had the chicken enchiladas in a green sauce, and the two dishes were identical save the enchilada filling. She also had shrimp ceviche, which was kind of tired, and I had a spicy pork tamal, which I enjoyed, but didn't have much pork in it.

                  I really liked the atmosphere of the place -- we were there around 6:30, and it wasn't crowded then -- and the staff was friendly and responsive. My wife would like to go back, but I'm in no rush. In that general neighborhood, I prefer El Maguey y la Tuna.

                  1. re: americanafan

                    The waitress needs to stop recommending those duck enchiladas; someone in my party had a similar experience about a week ago:

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434555

                    In response to JungMann's post, which fish dish was served on a banana leaf? The pescado veracruzano came simmered in a tomato-onion salsa, if my memory serves me correctly.

                    If you like exaggerated citrus and salt accents, then the guacamole here will suit your tastes. Personally, $9 for a single avocado's worth of the green stuff really soured my opinion of this place as a value dining destination ($15 for the 2 avocados in the larger size seemed similarly outrageous, but I ordered it anyway).

                    That said, the staff does aim to please, BYOB is a minor blessing, and my experiences with their cochinita pibil, pescado veracruzano, and ceviche de pulpo were all quite positive. The friendly, familial atmosphere that the staff creates, and the excellent chips with smoky chipotle salsa didn't hurt either.

                    1. re: CalJack

                      All these posts are making me glad I went in the middle of the day and not on a Saturday night. Other than BYOB, I didn't feel this place was any great value. It's interesting that so many people also experienced a touch too much lime in their guacamole. When I go back I'll avoid the duck (which I love) based on the recent comments. Thaks for saving me from some dry duck . . .

                    2. re: americanafan

                      im sorry to hear that, i thik el maguey la tuna is pretty mediocre so what happened to you there must be awful. But...no, no, do not ask for duck, apparently the waitress had no clue, god, that doesn't make any sense, you should give it another try on a non busy day and just get the cochinita pibil and bring a good beer (forget about corona!)

                      LRS

                      1. re: americanafan

                        Hmm, interesting. Our one visit at Mole was great and in particular, we loved their duck enchiladas that night (they weren't remotely dry when we had them, and the sauce was great, and the temp of the food was fine). We also had pork in a green mole sauce that was sensational. And had no issues with the guac. We enjoyed the visit so much we've been dying to go back and have told others about it......I hope we didn't experience an anomaly that night and that it really is as tasty and nice a place as we remembered.

                        We had no issues with service either...the owner who was in front of us at the bar, took excellent care of us.

                        1. re: Nehna

                          Well we went back last night for a second visit --- skittish, after a few of the posts on this thread, and with a friend who loves mexican / was brought up in Texas.

                          Well I'm happy to report we had an excellent time. We were in rather a hurry, as we had to get to a party, so we didn't have the long leisurely meal we had last time. The 3 of us split a small guacamole which was ample / generous. For entrees: I had the skirt steak tacos, husband had chicken in a green pistachio móle sauce, friend had a fish special with a tomato based sauce. Everyone loved their entrees and I was only sad I had to rush through mine to make our appointment. Steak in the tacos was flavorful/tender and served in grilled flour tortillas with carmelized pearl onions. Plenty of flour tortillas on the side for the other two entrees.

                          So having now returned, I remain puzzled at some of the criticisms in this thread. I stand by my earlier excellent experience. It's definitely among the tastiest mexican i've found since moving back to the east coast / I'd have been happy with it in California.

                    3. I tried Mole tonight for the first time and enjoyed it overall - I had the guacamole and the cochinita pibil, and I thought both were quite good. The big news, though, was that they now have their liquor license and have suspended the BYOB policy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Katherine H

                        Boo hoo! I'll have to go easy on the margaritas . . . it's like the grapefruit jalapeno ones at Barrio Chino, good but pricey. I need to go back since I haven't been since Mole first opened. I need to eat my way through the menu or get on a plane to San Diego where the Mexican food is better.

                      2. I went there tonight. Keep your expectations low. There are few things as disheartening as having a plate arrive showered with shredded romaine and diced tomatoes, reminiscent of Garcia's of Scottsdale or Chi Chi's or (insert name of suburban Mexican chain here).

                        The staff was sweet and enthusiastic, if slow. And I had high hopes for the special, scallop tacos. But they were deep-fried to a fare-thee-well, and when I de-battered them I found that each was not even a whole scallop; it was laterally sliced. The grilled cactus side was pretty good (hard to screw that up), as was the octopus ceviche, although it was pretty meager for the $14 price tag. And everything was way over-limed and over-salted.

                        Our waiter was really pushing the margaritas, which I didn't try. Perhaps they offered redemption.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: small h

                          With the BYOB option now obsolete, I can't help feeling like this is just another overpriced mexican shakedown looking to take advantage of Manhattan's obsession with tableside guac preparation. Oxidization and other big words aside, anyone else from out West as perplexed as I am by that whole phenomenon?

                          I've had nice enough meals there, but when the staff is steering people so consistently wrong, the space is obscenely uncomfortable (especially along the walls in back), and the value proposition continues to crumble (I couldn't agree more on the paltry portion pointer on the ceviche de pulpo and the inflated appearance on those scallop tacos), I find I can't really bring myself to recommend the place any longer.

                          And so downtown's latest great Mexican hope staggers back against the ropes...

                          Any passionate fans left out there?

                          1. re: CalJack

                            CalJack, just wanted to say that I liked your post a lot :)

                            Rats, I guess I missed my window of value for this place.

                            1. re: CalJack

                              Overpriced shakedown pretty much nails it. I was severely underwhelmed with the food at Mole. I ordered shrimp tacos, mainly because the special scallop tacos were described as deep-fried, which IMO is an abomination. Damned if the shrimp weren't battered and deep-fried too--yuck! I ended up scraping all the breading off and eating a pile of fairly tasteless shrimp, chopped lettuce, and chopped tomato. And the restaurant has the gall to describe their fish and shrimp tacos as "Baja style"--having been to Baja lately and eaten about ten servings of fish tacos in the course of a two-week vacation, I can say with confidence that Mole's fish tacos were about as Baja style as an H&H bagel.

                              The octopus ceviche contained about 15 small disks of octopus and about a cup of chopped tomato and jalapeño. For fourteen bucks, I expect a lot more fish.

                              We resisted the hard sell on the tableside guacamole, for which I am thankful (I make a very fine guacamole in my own kitchen and it would have irked me even more to pay nine dollars for one avocado and some trimmings).

                              The free chips and salsa were good!

                              1. re: travelmad478

                                Just came back, from this place, having remembered some positive posts on the board. ( I am seriously distrustful of CH'ers now.) If only I'd read your post before going, it would have saved me from a truly BAD meal. Since when are "baja fish tacos fried" with Tartar sauce? I could have sworn I read "grilled" on the menu description. My SO's overpriced Oaxaqueno tamales were awful as well - no flavor at all, except in the accompanying dipping salsa. The food in this joint was as authentic as the Mambo tunes blaring from the speakers. My Pacifico and chips were the best things there.

                                Perhaps my expectations were too high from my LA trip last week....

                                1. re: kayonyc

                                  Ummmm. Real baja fish tacos ARE fried and usually would come with sliced cabbage and a white sauce somewhat resembling a tartar sauce.

                                  I've had great fish tacos that aren't fried but those aren't baja-style.

                                  1. re: PeteinDumbo

                                    My comparison was based on the two weeks that I spent in Baja (Todos Santos, La Paz, and Loreto) shortly before eating at this restaurant. In that period I ate fish tacos probably 10 times, and not a single one of them involved batter-fried fish. Shredded cabbage and a sort of mayonnaise-y sauce, yes. But the batter-frying at Mole was seriously out of place, as was the mess of chopped lettuce and chopped tomato that made up most of my plate. Every fish taco I had in Baja was grilled, and involved just pieces of fish laid out on tortillas with the cabbage and sauces on the side. The only variation was flour tortillas vs. corn.

                                    1. re: travelmad478

                                      You need to go back then. There is the classic baja taco, fried in all its glory, yet you ate at all the gringo taco stands my friend. Grilled fish is common in Baja, but not the authentic baja style of taco. I should know...

                                  2. re: kayonyc

                                    There is just No reason to go to Mole, really, I went the week the opened last year and the good things were the cochinita pibil and the fact that it was BYO...I posted then, but I went again a few months after and never posted anything here: it was a total disaster, very expensive and the cochinita wasnt even good this time...and now they carry liquor license and sell bad beers like Pacifico.....

                            2. i went sunday with another restaurant peep (foh & boh). we loved it. we're wee lasses, but we can hold a lot of food. (yay, metabolism.) we are NOT value shoppers, but we still had leftovers to last a few days. (besides, does nyc need "value" meals? seems the city begins to retain some touristy contours.) we had a few plates including the scallop tacos, and they were GREAT. i'm not keen on los angeles, so ++good on saving me the airfare for "authentic".

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pastywhitegirl

                                Just got back from a very nice dinner at Mole. Beers were $3 until 7, and they had $5 guacamole, which we didn't order. LOVELY fish tacos (perfect crispy fried flounder) on a huge platter with blue corn tortillas, and great juicy steak fajitas. We could have shared one entree and gotten an app instead, there was quite a bit too much food.