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Upscale mexican

j
jacquigal Dec 21, 2010 03:15 PM

We want to take some friends for a thank you dinner, for being wonderful hosts on our visit.

We'd like a mexican restaurant that has fabulous food, but atmosphere is also important.

From reading the boards and online research I was thinking: suenos, mercadito grove or hecho en dumbo, but I'm worried suenos may not have a festive enough atmosphere.

Would anyone care to weigh in on these choices, or suggest others?

I very much appreciate it. Thanks!

  1. s
    s.piller Feb 13, 2011 03:12 AM

    I llke Toloache or Maya. Maya is the more expensive of the two. NYC is not the greatest city for Mexican food as compared to other cuisines.

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    Toloache
    251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

    1. p
      pace Feb 12, 2011 06:41 PM

      Suenos, definitely

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      Suenos
      311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      1. sgordon Dec 23, 2010 08:36 AM

        I really disliked Hecho en Dumbo - which was odd, because I liked them in DUMBO when I went there. The burritos and tacos were fine (if tiny) but the composed plates were pretty flavorless and underseasoned. A good place to pop in for some small bites and cocktails, I think, but not really somewhere I'd go for a meal.

        That said, for upscale Mexican I'll second Toloache (though I understand the complaints that the portions are a little overpriced) and Suenos and also add Crema (which I'm surprised no one has mentioned yet) - Julietta Ballesteros is a heck of a chef, the ingredients are always very fresh, the portions decent, and the cocktails excellent.

        Also worth checking out are Centrico (Aaron Sanchez' flagship) and Zarela (his mom's place) - both excellent.

        And while they may be chains, Sandoval's places - Maya (traditional) & Pampano (seafood-centric) are both good. (Zengo I'm not so impressed with.) - but all that aside, I would probably go with a NY original over a chain.

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        Crema
        111 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

        Zarela
        953 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10022

        Centrico
        211 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        2 Replies
        1. re: sgordon
          d
          DrewEck Jan 25, 2011 09:38 AM

          Agree about bad service at Hecho. My friend and I were practially begging someone to bring more drinks for us. Food was so-so. Small portions were ovepriced. Wouldn't go back despite being in the area quite a bit.

          1. re: DrewEck
            n
            NYCKim Feb 11, 2011 01:09 PM

            Hecho in Dumbo was bad news.
            I walked in during after 9 on a slow week night to grab a quick bite at the bar and check out the food I'd heard so much about. There were only 3 other people at the other end the bar. The bartender spent his time texting on his phone, day dreaming and walking down to chat with (not serve) that group. He looked up at me a few times, and I tried to get his attention, but he saw no reason to come down to me except for the fact that I was near the service area. Regardless, he would not acknowledge that I was there. I finally left, telling the hostess that apparently it was my server's night off.

            There are too many places to eat on that strip of lower Manhattan to give your money to a restaurant that isn't interested in taking it.

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            Hecho en Dumbo
            354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

        2. h
          Hey19 Dec 23, 2010 06:11 AM

          I always seem to find a good time/good food/good value at Hecho on Bowery. Service can be spotty, but no worse than anywhere else. There is la esquina also, although thats kind of another story all together.

          unrelated, Los Dos Molinos in Gramercy is closing today. Way over priced, way tex mex, but just makes me feel like a little, drunk part of my youth is dying.

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          Los Dos Molinos
          119 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

          1. c
            comiendosiempre Dec 23, 2010 04:33 AM

            Pompano or Maya most likely. Pompano for the seafood, ceviches, fish, etc., and Maya for most other items. Of note, the chef at Toloache used to cook at Maya many years ago. Good luck.

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            Toloache
            251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

            1 Reply
            1. re: comiendosiempre
              JungMann Jan 25, 2011 12:28 PM

              I am a fan of the Mercadito chain, but Pampano is also a great recommendation. The food is of high caliber and the setting is an upgrade over the shackiness of Mercadito.

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              Pampano
              209 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

              Mercadito
              179 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

            2. p
              psk123 Dec 22, 2010 12:05 PM

              I love Suenos, it's on 17th str between 8th and 9th.

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              Suenos
              311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

              1 Reply
              1. re: psk123
                d
                drumwine Dec 22, 2010 09:13 PM

                second Suenos

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                Suenos
                311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

              2. Motosport Dec 22, 2010 11:16 AM

                El Parador on E 34th St. Upscale and authentic, non- Tex-Mex.

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                El Parador
                325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

                1. a
                  AYSConsulting Dec 22, 2010 11:05 AM

                  I would look to Zengo (even though it's fusion, it's excellent). Great atmosphere as well. he biblioteca de tequila there is great too!

                  Or maybe go for Rosa Mexicana? It's a little chain-y but I still the food is good.

                  Or if you want to be safe, I'd say Dos Caminos, any of their locations.

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                  Rosa Mexicano
                  61 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023

                  Dos Caminos
                  825 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10022

                  Zengo
                  622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: AYSConsulting
                    kelea Dec 22, 2010 04:39 PM

                    I"m for Rosa Mexicano over Dos Caminos for quality for food.

                    Personally I like the Mercaditos but they aren't very upscale in terms of atmosphere, just price.

                    Another for Toloache!

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                    Toloache
                    251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                    Rosa Mexicano
                    9 E. 18th St., New York, NY 10003

                  2. j
                    janmaltby Dec 21, 2010 04:03 PM

                    Tuaoluche, maybe have it spelled wrong. West side, theatre district. Wonderful

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: janmaltby
                      u
                      uniqueusername Dec 21, 2010 04:10 PM

                      Toloache - west 50th and 8th. Agree, it's very tasty.

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                      Toloache
                      251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                      1. re: uniqueusername
                        r
                        rrems Dec 21, 2010 04:51 PM

                        Highly recommend Toloache. Delicious and interesting dishes, great cocktails, festive atmosphere. Not your typical Mexican.

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                        Toloache
                        251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                        1. re: rrems
                          t
                          tex.s.toast Dec 23, 2010 03:59 AM

                          I went to Toloache last year with visitors before a show on the recommendation of this board as it seems to come up every once in a while when someone mentions either fancier mexican or decent theater district dining and i gotta say - i just dont get it. we had an ok meal, but certainly nothing memorable, in a very typical midtown atmosphere (i guess some people could consider expense accounters, tourists and pre-theater bridge and tunnel types festive) for OUTRAGEOUS prices. 11 dollar or something like that for two of the skimpiest tacos ive ever seen (i think they each had about 2 T of meat in them).

                          Like i said it wasnt bad, but i left with a really bad taste in my mouth feeling like i had been fleeced and my limited dining dollars/calories could have been spent elsewhere.

                          Havent been to Hecho en Dumbo since they moved into the city, so i cant speak to the atmosphere on the bowery but from previous experiences there they really do a good job with the food.

                          -----
                          Toloache
                          251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                          Hecho en Dumbo
                          354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

                          1. re: tex.s.toast
                            s
                            small h Dec 23, 2010 06:05 AM

                            If you felt ripped off by Toloache, you will feel the same way about Hecho en Dumbo. I think the food at both is equally good, but I had much better service at Toloache. I ate with a friend at Hecho's bar and we were ignored so aggressively I kept checking to see whether I was wearing my invisibility cloak.

                            1. re: tex.s.toast
                              coasts Dec 23, 2010 03:02 PM

                              completely agree. we had a good meal there, but i expected better based solely on CH reviews. of all cuisines, id say Mexican is one of the few that I don't have a go to place for when the craving hits. i've had a good time at Barrio Chino, but i'm not always willing to wait.

                              -----
                              Barrio Chino
                              253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

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