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Jul 27, 2008 03:11 PM

Revisiting La Herradura in New Rochelle

A year or two ago, I finally made it to La Herradura and had one of the better tacos I've ever had in the Tristate area. Hand made tortilla, flavorful grilled skirt steak (really), guacamole, etc. It was awesome. I've recommended the place pretty highly based on that one taco and the fact that the interior isn't dingy - which is generally the case with the places I like.

But Laylag's post here had me concerned:

So, I decided to go back there yesterday and check it out. Boy was I disappointed. It didn't even seem like the same food.

Like laylag experienced, the only salsa was the table salsa, which is a tomato sauce concoction. Bad and boring.

I ordered two tacos - grilled steak (same one that enthralled me last time) and a shrimp taco. My wife order flautas, and the kids had a variety of dishes.

First, no more hand made tortillas. Same tortillas that you get anywhere.

Second, they put lettuce on their taco. What??? Granted, these were their "Herradura" style tacos, which I've now realized must mean "Gringo" taco to them. You get guac, lettuce and pay $2 more per taco.. But last time I went and ordered it, it certainly didn't have lettuce. That's an unforgiveable abomination in my book.

The steak was still pretty good, but not great. The guacamole was OK. But overall, extremely average.

My shrimp taco was actually pretty good, but for $4 bucks, it better be.

Wife's flautas were quite poor and everything else we ordered was your standard typical east coast bad mexican. Really disappointing.

What's happened? Was my first visit a crazy anomaly? But if they were hand making their tortillas when I went the first time, that's not something they do just on some odd night... that's very a deliberate attempt to go above and beyond. It takes skill and dedication to hand make tortillas for a restaurant operation.

So I'm guessing they've changed their cooking staff or something? The menus look exactly the same though.

Anyhow, sadly, I can't recommend it any longer. But, at least there are still 4 other above average mexican places within walking distance.

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  1. adamclyde, I am assuming you revisited the original on Main St., New Rochelle. They opened another unit about 3 months ago on North Ave. near Quaker Ridge...this may have overextended their staff for the time being.
    We visited the new one early Saturday evening to avoid the crowds and were pleased with the colorful decor and far as our dining experience, it turned out tepid at best...the salsa you mention was good, though mild, as was the food. We went basic and ordererd 'Three Amigos' enchiladas and the Steak Fajitas...both were served on compact plates (not platters) tightly arranged, the main elements a bit small. There was not a whole lot of 'zing' to anything. My main concerns here are: 1) The menu is much too long, almost like a south-of-the-border diner mentality...too much to consider. 2) The menu states 'authentic' Mexican as so many do, yet there was a great deal of Tex-Mex and Americanized dishes mixed in (and what about those pizzas?).
    Even with all this, I would return for a quick fix...and I am curious about those breakfasts.

    19 Replies
    1. re: gutreactions

      Really? It seems then that I've never had really, really, really good Mexican food. I've been to Little Mexican Cafe and a few takeout places on Main St., and found La Herradura to be the same in quality as them. I won't go to Mexican Corner for obvious reasons.

      Where, if I may ask, is there Mexican food that is light years above these places in quality?

      1. re: dolores

        I am curious what your " obvious reasons" are. I have gotten take out from there and thought it was good. I also recently took out for a bunch of my employees from Veracruz in Mamaroneck. One of my co- workers is from Mexico and did a great job of ordering. The food was very good and according to my Mexican friend, very authentic.

        1. re: momof3

          momof3, my reason is simply the charge for chips and salsa.

        2. re: dolores

          dolores, really, really, really good mexican food? You are right, probably not to be found around here.

          But pretty dang good mexican food? That you can definitely find. Try the carnitas taco at El Michoacano in New Rochelle. or the sopes at Mexican Corner. Or the carnitas torta/tacos at tortilleria los gemelos in Port Chester. Or the cemitas at Kiosko in Port Chester. Or the tacos al pastor, quesadillas con huitlacoche, or cochinita pibil tacos at sunshine deli in white plains. Or the lengua tacos at Mexico Lindo in White Plains. Or the Carnitas tacoas at Cancun Delights...

          I could go on...

          But in my latest experience, La Herradura was worse than all of those, unfortunately.

          1. re: adamclyde

            Glad you went back Adam. I was so surprised by our experience after your rec so good to know neither of us is crazy.

            On your rec went to Sunshine Deli for take-out and despite some disappointments - all out of tamales and no conchinita pibil we did get some very delicious (onion and cilantro only) tacos al pastor and carne asadas too. I didn't love their carnitas tacos though - the pork was a little bit tasteless. And, because a bunch of their regulars kept coming in and ordering the pork in salsa verde I decided to get an order of that to go too - with the red rice. It was great. The salsa verde was the real deal with a lot kick and I could have eaten a giant sized take-out container of the rice all on its own. Fantastic. Other steam table items looked tired or even completely dried out so didn't sample those. So good and must have to try the quesadillas con hitlacoche and pibil if they have it next time.

            1. re: laylag

              I just got back from Sunshine Deli and found something new there too. Tlacoyos. I'm soo excited. They aren't too easy to find. And, like almost everything else there, was excellent.

              About their carnitas, I agree, it's just OK there. And I WISH they had cochinita pibil there more often. I've only had it twice. But the key there is to find out what their specials are. They don't have them listed.

              If you are ever in Stamford, the tamales oaxaquenos are better at the El Charrito taco truck than at Sunshine Deli. But there's is still pretty decent.

              1. re: adamclyde

                Say, adamclyde, you seem to know your way around a sope, so I'll ask you. My DH and I went to Roberto's on Post Road in WP last week and loved the food, but we are in need of guidance on their menu (BTW I think it is thrilling to find unfamiliar foods on a menu). For starters, there was a category of "gorditos." Can you enlighten me? And perhaps, tell me wha else to look for?
                Thanks much!!!

                1. re: adamclyde

                  We were actually in Stamford one Saturday afternoon in June and went looking for the truck per the directions in the thread (near the Jackie Robinson park triangle thing right?) and it was nowhere to be found. I was so bummed - desperate for a huarache. Will have to try again.

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    Digame adamclyde, what's a Tlacoyo?

                    I tried to have Sunshine Deli cater a party but couldn't get it together with them. We are eating at Que Chula es Puebla tonight.

                    1. re: PBB

                      Not adamclyde but I was as curious about that as you pbb. I wiki'd and it appears a tlacoyo is either similar to a pupusa but sounds, in their description, even more delicious or a smaller version of a huarache. In either case yo los quiero.

                      Where is Que Chula?

                      1. re: laylag

                        I found this on tlacoyos....

                        Tlacoyos This is one of the oldest antojitos of all. Tlacoyos are made by patting tortilla dough around a filling, often of squash blossoms, huitlacoche or mushrooms, until fully enclosed into an elongated shape, which is then cooked on a comal

                        Your Mexican Kitchen:
                        A compilation of Mexican Recipes Practicable in the United States
                        by Natalie V. Scott
                        New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
                        Pg. 11:
                        1 lb. of masa
                        3/4 cup of fried frijoles
                        3/4 cup of grated fresh cheese
                        12 leaves of American wormseed
                        3/4 cup of green chile sauce

                        Make the dough into tortillas about 1/3 inch thick. In the center of each put 1 tbsp. of the beans, and spread them across the center of the tortilla. Over this put 1 tbsp. of cheese, then a tbsp. of the chili sauce, then a leaf of American wormseed, Fold the tortilla over tart fashion, and cook it on a thick dry iron skillet, or bake it in the oven.

                        Que Chula is in Sleepy Hollow on Valley Street. Search this board for info. It's good pero si vive lejos, no vale le pena.

                        1. re: PBB

                          Yeah, I don't have much to add over the first paragraph above. It's fresh masa, filled with beans, chicharron, etc., then squashed to about 1/4 inch flat in a football shape (usually about 4-5 inches long) then pan fried on a comal.

                          As for the recipe, given the date, I'm impressed that the recipe is pretty good. However, now that mexican ingredients are much more readily available, there are better recipes (correct cheese, salsas, etc.). By the way, what is american wormseed??? :)

                2. re: adamclyde

                  adamclyde, somehow I missed your note.

                  Are those places you mentioned full size restaurants or small takeout places with a few tables?

                  I was thinking full sit down restaurants, like Herradura, Tequila Sunrise, or Sunset Grille.

                  In my opinion, read opinion, the state (in Westchester) of sit down Mexican restaurants is similar to Chinese restaurants.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Kiosko and Los Gemelos are pretty much sit down places. Los Gemelos - aside from the uncomfortable booth seats - has steadily made the interior nicer over the past 6 years. That said, neither are a sunset grille kind of place.

                    I agree that there's really no mexican place in Westchester that has good, innovative high end food. But at least I can get great food if I don't care about ambiance (which generally, I don't!)

                    1. re: adamclyde

                      Ambience is not important to me. I will make a note of SE in PC, and now Kiosko and Los Gemelos also in PC.

                      I had a picture of a very small place on Main St. in New Rochelle (it might have been El Michoacano), which had delicious and very large burritos, but had only one or two tables and was in reality a takeout place.

                      1. re: dolores

                        el michoacano has wonderful carnitas tacos. It's very small, and is mostly a take out place, but it does have about 4-5 tables. Fine to stick around and sit to eat too.

                        Zero on ambiance. Never tried their burritos.

              2. re: gutreactions

                yes, I went to the original, not the new one. did they hand make their tortillas at the new one?

                1. re: adamclyde

                  adamclyde -- I don't know if you've been there yet, but I'd be really curious to hear what you thought of the new high end Mexican Lolita's in Byrum, CT, right around the corner from Port Chester's Tarry Lodge.

                  1. re: PlasticMoonRain

                    No, I haven't gone yet. I got a little spooked when they said they were offering tacos with "gravy." And even though it's just a pan sauce, it made me a bit skittish about it. That said, I'm keeping an open mind and will hopefully get a chance to check it out. But when I'm in a Mexican mood, I generally just head 1/2 mile down the road to Port Chester for great stuff at 1/4 the price (or less).

              3. i believe that while in an effort to make the food and decor "gringo" friendly, the restaurant has become quite popular and much more busy- (especailly on thursdays for the live mariachi music)-- the food has become more mild and americanized...
                i have eaten there the last 3 thursdays and have enjoyed the crowd, the music, and the pleasant service... the food has been good but not favorite was the enchildas mole - which had a rich, homemade mole sauce...
                i would reccomend it as a good place to take friends who are not so gastronomically adventuresome or go just for fun on thursdays for the mariachis....

                1. My husband and I went to the new one in Mamaroneck this weekend. Keep in mind I am not terribly picky and I can be pretty happy as long as it's not Taco Bell-type stuff, but I think I had a very nice meal there. I thought their salsa was a little too heavy on the garlic and the salt, but my chicken in mole poblano hit the spot with nicely chargrilled (and still tender) chicken and a rich sauce. My husband raved about his shrimp dish.

                  The tres leches cake was totally inauthentic. It was chocolate. Totally not tres leches. Still, if you hadn't told me it was supposed to have been tres leches, I would have enjoyed it for what it was.