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Mar 3, 2010 06:55 AM

Rosa Mexicana and Taquerias - Is that are there is?

I'm jonesing for a place that can do real ceviches, delicious carne asades, excellent mole sauces, etc, but so far remain woefully disappointed with my experiences toward that regard in Manhattan. In a city known for gourmet food, is there really no place that can deliver on high-quality Mexican cuisine that doesn't always come in a taco?

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  1. Can you tell us what other places you've tried?

    1. These are regional items, you're looking for. It's going to be a rare find that excels in coastal ceviche, Northern carne asada and Pueblan moles. Try checking out Mercadito and La Esquina. Otherwise find places that specialize like Desnuda for ceviche.

      1. Give Toloache a try. I can say with certainty that it is way better than Rosa Mexicana.

        1. I would second small_h's praise for Toloache. Seriously tasty food, and one of the best margaritas I've had at a Mexican restaurant. (You'd be surprised at how many use pre-made mix instead of fresh lime juice.)

          3 Replies
            1. re: LeahBaila

              I like Toloache, too - and have also enjoyed the contemporary Mexican cuisine at Hell's Kitchen (9th and 47th).

              1. re: Striver

                After seeing it mentioned in this thread, and finding myself nearby waiting for a show I tried toloache and have to say that i wasn't particularly impressed. i've read all the vitriol for the placed the OP mentioned as NOT doing what he wanted, but im just not getting what could make someone recommend toloache. the food we had was not bad, necessarily, but i doubt id send someone there if they asked about pre/post theater food, let alone good mexican in manhattan.

                we tried a calamari special that was blue corn dusted with a pico de gallo and pinapple salsa that was totally uninspired and underseasoned. aside from coloring the squid blue the corn served no purpose flavor-wise, though i guess ill give them credit for not frying the calamari into oblivion.

                the hamachi cevice was fine but not marinated to the point of being ceviche. a crudo with citrus dressing maybe, but for 14 bucks it was awfully small and not anything to write home about in the flavor department. the deep fried avocado slice on top did little to balance the texture or fattiness of the fish (and i can't believe id ever say this but for a ceviche it was really lacking in citrus).

                my cabeza tacos were tasty but microscopic for 11 dollars (!) i got two middling tortillas (not two for each taco, but two total) each topped with, at most, 3 tablespoons of stewed beef cheeks. i come from california, and live pretty near sunset park, and these tacos were reminiscent of the visa ad where the couple goes to the store after their fancy dinner out. maybe the emaciated model wannabes at the table next door were happy about the portion size, but for the money (i wasnt even paying!) this was a laughable serving.

                the service was, per the area, overly solicitous and barely able to contain the upselling - though to our servers credit he bought me a shot of tequila after i acquiesced to a tequila upgrade in my good (but not mind blowing) margarita.

                we passed on the dessert menu, but not before my dining companion ordered an 8 dollar (!) cafe con leche. i didnt taste it, and it got no complaints for taste, but how anyone could charge that much without wearing a mask is beyond me.

                in the end we got what amounted to decent snacks and one drink for about 100 bucks after tip and tax. with a couple meals like that that under your belt you'd be better off saving up for a trip to mexico.

          1. I've heard so many good reports on Molé but, still not eaten there yet.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bigjeff

              I heard the same good reports, and I have eaten there, and I thought it sucked. It was over two years ago, though, so I'm willing to entertain the possibility that it's improved.