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Tex-Mex in NYC??

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  • RoxyG Mar 26, 2008 05:23 PM
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Does anyone know of a good Tex-Mex restaurant in NYC or anywhere close by? I've been to quite a few authentic Mexican places and some not so authentic and have been really disappointed by the food. Call me crazy but I'm from Colorado and there is a definite difference between Mexican food and Tex-Mex. So if you have any suggestions (and you know what Tex Mex is) I would really love them! Thank you!

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  1. I'm from Dallas, lived in LA, have been out here five years and still can't find a wicked awesome combo plate. I spent the first year getting pissed off that there wasn't a 7.95 enchilada, taco, rice and beans with a margarita option. UGGHGH.

    I have no clue where you'll find green chile enchiladas if that's your thing...Colorado and all...but there is some awesome Mexican food and a few decent TexMex places. Lately I've been going to Arriba Arriba for combo plates. Enchiladas are decent, tacos same, good drinks and chips...they get it more so than a lot of other places. There are some really good taco places on 117th between 3rd and 1st. Those are authentic and pretty satisfying. But again, not that a taqueria is necessarily a TexMex place. I swear someone would make a fortune if they would open a restaurant called "Tex-Mex From Someone Who Actually Knows what Queso Is." There's a place way east on Houston that is just a hole in the wall that is owned by a Mexican family that is pretty good.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jgradieoakes

      There's a new Tex-Mex place in Red Hook, Brooklyn on Sullivan St. I forgot the name but it's at 116 Sullivan the site of a former Mexican Restaurant called El Huipil. I've never eaten at the new place, but it does look interesting.

      1. re: bobjbkln

        It's called Viva

        -----
        Viva
        116 Sullivan St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      2. re: jgradieoakes

        Encuentro is a spanish/Tex-mex/Dominican Republic located in an odd location in Brooklyn 6th Ave & 15th St - Their combo meals are very good and the prices are excellent. I think that they know what Queso is.

      3. I am from Fort Worth and moved to NYC seven years ago. I had a really hard time finding anything that was close to Tex-Mex. As jgradieoakes mentioned, Arriba Arriba is pretty good though it gets better the more your drink (hmmm). There is a place in Jersey City, Bubby's Burrito's that is really good but it is more Cali-Mex than Tex-Mex.
        There is a place in the Village that is abysmal. I won't mention names (initials: CCC) I went there with my brother last month and ordered Queso and they brought out shredded cheese that was melted on a plate.

        1. Yeah, really hard to find Tex-Mex or Southwestern food in the city. Don't know why. I hate it when people tell me Mesa Grill is southwestern. But, if you want another mexican place that's pretty authentic, I like Mole on Allen and houston across from the gigantic american apparel billboard. I also like Puebla, best steak tacos with guajillo rub.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ironchef24

            "Yeah, really hard to find Tex-Mex or Southwestern food in the city. Don't know why. "

            Most likely because it is a regional thing and just does not translate well here in NYC. I doubt one can find good New York-style pizza in Texas. Some things are better left to the areas that do it well. It's a good excuse to travel. :)

          2. I just recently moved to NY from Texas for school, and in the search for some delicious tex-mex here (since nyc's "mexican" food is no where near the same as in Texas), I stumbled on this website and no one's answers helped.. So here's my discovery - Chevy's Fresh Mex btwn 7th&8th on 42nd.. It's amazing..

            Side note: Don't expect to find what us Texans consider queso here unless you do your research. If you're specifically craving queso, go online to see the restraunts menu beforehand. If it says "queso fundido" it's not normal queso. It's baked cheese aka stretchy/greesy mess.. no bueno. For real queso the menu needs to say chile con queso.

            1. Hands down the best tex-mex in NYC is at Los Dos Molinos. In the area of Union Sq.. The prices are ridiculous ($17 weak margarita, $20 chimichanga), and the servers are marginal at best.

              But they are the only spot in the city doing this style right and they must know it. Even with the crazy prices they are perpetually busy so they can get away with it.. I just stay away from the Margaritas and come out not too bad.

              I still go back because they have the best Nachos and Chile Relleno I've ever had. There is a weekday happy hour that helps a bit with the cost.

              1. If you're willing to head to Queens, I think the best kept secret is Tequila Sunrise on Northern and Steinway. It's big, flashy crowded, the clientele is almost entirely Mexican, and the combo plates are fantastic. More MExican than Tex-Mex, with with a great fajita platter. I live in Queens, and I take people here all the time. Having grown up in Southern california, where the Mexican food is generally 1000x bettter than in New York, I would say, CHECK IT OUT!

                4 Replies
                1. re: director517

                  If Tequila Sunrise is real Tex-Mex, then this is a cuisine that is not worth reviewing on this site. While it's true that to get serious Mexican in NY you should go to Queens or Brooklyn, I can't say that Tequila Sunrise is a serious destination. It is a chain. Typical gringo microwave tasteless slop. If there are Mexicans there, which I doubt, they may be there for the frozen margaritas.

                  Maybe we in NY can't comment on good Tex-Mex because we don't know what it is when we have it. Could a real Texan enlighten us as what the difference is between Mexican and Tex-Mex?

                  1. re: Paulomet

                    I would call it a concept, not a cuisine. The whole notion of Tex-Mex was popularized beginning in the 60's through chains in Texas and Arizona, predominantly, but spreading throughout the Southwest, and very distinct from "New Mexican," "Southwestern," or, for that matter, "Mexican." Much of the enjoyment is sense-memory, comfort food, predictability, etc., sensations often linked, and especially in this case, to chain-style restaurants. In my opinion, it as worth discussing as anyone's favorite diner experience, and I certainly could imagine (if it doesn't exist already) a worthy discussion somewhere here about favorite diners (or, for example, pancake houses).

                    You are right: Tequila Sunrise in Astoria is the original outpost of a restaurant which later expanded to 5 locations in the Western Long Island area, making it somewhat of a chain. It's not Tex-Mex; however, fajitas, the quintessential Tex-Mex entree, do feature prominently, and for that familiar experience of the sizzling plate of meat, the steaming tortillas, the ice-cream scoops of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa on the side, plus the brown-and-orange half moons of refried beans and rice on a separate plate, it's better than anywhere else I've been in the 5 boroughs. I would also recommend the heaping plate of carnitas in tomatillo sauce (definintely not Tex-Mex). It's the only pork dish on the entire menu, and they do it right.

                    That said, I live in Jackson Heights, where I eat from the taco carts by the 74st station all the time, and would happily eat a cemita from Taqueria Coatzingo over just about anything else nowadays. They are sublime. Check them out.

                    1. re: director517

                      Fair enough then, Tequila Sunrise is not Tex-Mex, and, certainly not the best Mexican in NY.
                      Have you tried Tia Julia's cemita?

                      1. re: Paulomet

                        You've sent a shiver of anticipation down my spine. WHERE IS Tia Julia's?!!! I'm currently convinced that cemitas are the best thing ever invented. Chicken, pork, tongue, tripe, brains, bring it on. Hamburger, shmamburger.

                2. So I stumbled across this looking for Tex Mex in midtown (I guess I'll go to Arriba Arriba if that's really the best we have to offer. Been there, and it's fine I guess, but I'm not excited) and, even though I'm a few years late to the party, as a Houston expat who's been here 15 years, I'll plug Lobo in Brooklyn. I've only been to the Cobble Hill location (on Court St.), but there's also one in Park Slope. Anyway, it's the best Tex Mex I've had in NYC. Sure it won't compare to back home, but it's run by Texans, has an extensive menu (including combo plates, plenty of enchilada options, queso, fajitas, etc., plus a few Texan comfort food items like chicken fried steak) that gets the job done, and also has killer margaritas. When I get homesick, this is where I go--I like Hill Country all right, but it's too expensive and often full of dipsh*ts (plus they tend to oversalt their brisket), and nobody can seem to get Gulf seafood right up here, so Lobo feels most like Texas to me.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fatmikey

                    This Fort Worth expat thanks you. Will have to check it out.

                    I go to Hill Country Fried Chicken or Rodeo Bar to get a little feel for home occasionally, but like you said, I haven't found anything that replaces the TexMex. Lobo looks good.

                    1. re: loratliff

                      No problem. I used to live a few blocks away from Rodeo and it does have a nice feel, especially for shows at night, and knockout (literally) margaritas, but the food leaves a lot to be desired. You'll like Lobo way better, I promise.

                  2. El Rio Grande!!