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Mar 22, 2008 01:06 PM

Chavella's, DeMole -- anyone know this region of Mexico?

of course, i could/should just ask, but i'm trying to learn and understand more about variations of regions of Mexican cuisine. I lived in Austin for a few years before moving to NYC, which is mostly Tex-Mex with some interior places too. I grew up outside WDC, eating a lot of Mexican, but i am unsure of that regional influence as well -- different from the Puebla-style that is most common in NY, and also different from interior, Tex-Mex or Cali-Mex....

i ate at Chavella's (Crown Heights) for the first time yesterday, and it really reminded me in menu of De Mole (Sunnyside/Woodside). i do like this style of Mexican, which seems lighter, fresher, and more quick-cooked than the Puebla style. i also like the Puebla style for their strengths, excellent tacos and great braised meats in tasty sauce, and we regularly dine at Taqueria Coatzingo (Jackson Heights).

anyway, i'd like to know if i were to travel to Mexico, what region i would find similar dishes. both Chavella's and De Mole are reviewed plenty on this board, and both are good so i won't go into too many details -- but what sets these places apart to me is:
1) the amount of vegetable items on the menus -- not even necessarily that they are vegetarian, but that there is an abundance of greens and mushrooms and other vegetables on the menu
2) quesadillas on corn tortillas, nicely grilled with a thicker corn-masa than is found in a standard tortilla, but thinner and different in texture than the masa used for huaraches or sopes. it's almost like a gordita texture or even an arepa texture, but thinner, almost as thin as a standard tortilla.
3) not a lot of pork on the menu (which always makes me a bit sad, it's my favorite meat)

i'd also like to point out that both De Mole and Chavella's might not be typical "destination" places, but they are beyond good, and certainly different than most of the Mexican found in NYC. and although they are certainly different from one another, I can pretty much assure anyone who has eaten at one and enjoyed it, that they would also very much enjoy the other should they find themselves in the alternate-borough.


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  1. i can't answer your question, but i love demole (just went there recently and love that it's light and fresh). i will probably be moving to austin in a few months, do you know any places like demole there? or good places in general to eat? i will REALLY miss the food in queens.
    thank you!

    3 Replies
    1. re: daniellaczar

      darn, i was hoping there was a response to the style of food... ah well.

      lots of discussion on places on the Austin board, but i'd be happy to give you some perspective of places that you might like based on what you like here. my profile has my email address, so you can drop me a line there.

      back to the original topic, i left out an item:

      4) guacamole is thick and chunky (my preference) versus the guacamole-sauce that is common in the Puebla-style mexican places.


      1. re: charlie_b

        This probably doesn't help you at all, but from a little write-up that Chavella's posts on their wall, the food is meant to be an overview of several regions of Mexico. Have you had their mole? What style is it? If it's one of the Oaxacan styles, but they have tlacoyos on the menu (very good), that may support the statement. Oh, and if anyone's wondering, the fish tacos are not Baja-style. But very good.

        1. re: NancyC

          Why not just ask? Mexicans are like everyone else and love to talk about their country and food. The quesadilla description is Pueblan.

    2. I have eaten at both places many times, especially Chavella's, which is the restaurant I go to most often.
      The Chef and owner of Chavella's is from Mexico City but is trained in french haute cuisine among other things.
      He opened Chavella's not only to provide cuisine from all of Mexico, but also to accurately represent the best of Chilango street food. And he really does, many dishes are better at Chavella's than any I have had in Mexico's Capital.