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Mexican restaurant with the best salsa bar?

n
nuttie_cat Apr 5, 2011 12:49 PM

Having moved from San Francisco just a few months ago, I miss the awesome burritos and tacos there. But more so I miss the amazing salsa bars that would be there at my favorite Mexican restaurants (the four main salsas: pico de gallo, roasted tomato, red chile and salsa verde in all you can eat-buffet style).

Are there any Mexican places in NYC that offers amazing salsa bars? Prefer Manhattan will travel for a good salsa bar.

  1. m
    michelleats Apr 5, 2011 01:06 PM

    The only place I know of with an AYCE salsa bar is Baja Fresh (which I'm not ashamed to admit I love). Google tells me there are now two in Manhattan, both in Midtown:

    465 Lexington Avenue, New York - (212) 599-2252

    1441 Broadway, New York - (212) 764-9084

    -----
    Baja Fresh
    465 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017

    Baja Fresh
    1441 Broadway, New York, NY 10018

    11 Replies
    1. re: michelleats
      n
      nuttie_cat Apr 5, 2011 01:18 PM

      Noooo.. NYC can't be so much of a wasteland when it comes to Mexican food!

      1. re: nuttie_cat
        h
        hon Apr 5, 2011 01:27 PM

        Cascabel Taqueria has great tacos and not a salsa bar but there are 4 different sauces in squirt bottles on every table and spaced along the bar for your food.

        http://www.nyctacos.com/

        -----
        Cascabel
        1538 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

        1. re: nuttie_cat
          kelea Apr 5, 2011 01:29 PM

          nuttie_cat, it's true. I moved here from CA 6 years ago. There is decent mexican food but it's never cheap and nothing comes free. Places with good salsa will actually charge for chips and salsa.

          1. re: nuttie_cat
            m
            michelleats Apr 5, 2011 02:23 PM

            Most Californians I know go through a grieving process when they first move to the city. I'm so sorry for your loss!

            However, things are on the up-and-up. There is decent to good Mexican around these days; it's just a lot pricier than what you're probably used to.

            1. re: michelleats
              m
              Mr Porkchop Apr 5, 2011 04:17 PM

              I'm not sure what stage of grieving I'm in right now, but I'm well past denial.

              I think Cascabal is a good suggestion, though it's not Cal-Mex, it's more of a Bayless wannabe. I enjoyed it though.

              For a SF-style burrito you might try Dos Torros near Union Square. It's a poor rice-dominated approximation, but I think you can tell they're trying at least. Florencia 13 in the Village does some SoCal stuff alright (great Margaritas, and they can make a Chile Relleno burrito that's not soul-crushingly bad). They do tacos in a what I consider a SoCal-style (e.g. Tito's in LA).

              You can definitely find some more authentic Mexican uptown, and in Brooklyn and Queens, and even at a few places over on 10th ave in Manhattan. I've focused a lot more on these types of places since moving to New York, and there's a few that make me pretty happy. It might be a strategy worth adopting.

              Welcome to NYC, and !Buena suerte!

              -----
              Florencia 13
              185 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

              Dos Toros
              137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: Mr Porkchop
                m
                michelleats Apr 5, 2011 05:16 PM

                Thanks a lot for the heads up on Florencia 13. That wasn't on my radar, before. Any thoughts on Calexico for mission-style burritos?

                Tulcingo del Valle and Tehuitzingo on 10th Ave. in Hell's Kitchen are good for tacos, IMO, though I couldn't even begin to tell you what style they subscribe to, other than tasty style. Is there anything else on 10th I should know about?

                -----
                Tehuitzingo
                695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                Tulcingo del Valle
                665 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                Calexico
                125 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

                Florencia 13
                185 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: michelleats
                  E Eto Apr 5, 2011 05:33 PM

                  Tulcingo del Valle and Tehuitzingo "subscribe" to Poblano regional style food, as in actual food from Mexico (with additional gringo fare for the locals). Almost every informative Mexican food post on these boards for the last decade will describe that most of the Mexican immigrants to NYC have come from this one region.

                  I'll reiterate that there's a lot of good Mexican food in NYC nowadays, but you have to go to the Mexican neighborhoods, mostly in the outer boroughs, or in Manhattan, in Spanish Harlem (and a sprinkling in the far west side of Hell's Kitchen). Any of these neighborhoods are more easily accessible than getting from the Sunset District to the Mission in SF, or getting to East LA , Highland Park, or even downtown from the westside of LA. If you really enjoy Mexican food, there's a lot to enjoy in your backyard.

                  To respond to the OP, the best salsa bar I've found was at this little taqueria and steam table joint in Elmhurst Queens called El Cilantro, or the late night taco truck called El Fogoncito located on Roosevelt near 86th St or so, though I'm not sure if they exist any more.

                  1. re: michelleats
                    m
                    Mr Porkchop Apr 6, 2011 01:58 PM

                    I haven't made it to any of the Calexicos. I'm not sure how, but I just haven't. As for Hells Kitchen, I've heard La Rosita, near both Tulcingo and Tehuitzingo, is also good, but I've not tried it myself.

                    I'll second the Poblano point made by others. As someone who grew up in a very hispanic area of California I've only here discovered some regional food that I'd never much seen growing up. I just recently discovered the joys of the "Pambazo" sandwich after it was suggested to me by the owner of one of my go-to places in Astoria, and only in New York have I truly come to appreciate cemitas (Tortas ruled in my home town).

                    And finally, I just have to work up some mock-indignation in being grouped with Northern Californians in terms of our Mexican food. I guess to a New Yorker we're all the same in terms of our smugness when it comes to a burrito.

                    -----
                    Tehuitzingo
                    695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                    Calexico
                    125 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

                    Guelaguetza
                    526 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                  2. re: Mr Porkchop
                    n
                    nuttie_cat Apr 5, 2011 07:32 PM

                    I am still in denial. I keep insisting a good salsa bar and great California Mission style burrito place must be out there--atleast in Spanish Harlem. But I am fast losing hope. I will try some of the places you have recommended. But it looks like I may have to get my San Francisco Papalote salsa shipped to me in NYC!

                    1. re: nuttie_cat
                      h
                      hon Apr 6, 2011 08:32 AM

                      or you could make it

                      http://www.chow.com/recipes/10646-ers...

                      1. re: nuttie_cat
                        JungMann Apr 6, 2011 10:11 AM

                        Spanish Harlem generally caters to Mexican palates and not Cali ex-pats, so a Mission Style burrito is unlikely to be common fare. That said, I've had an okay burrito at El Paso. Someone recommended me a place on 106th and Lex, but I never got a name.

                        The salsas at Taco Mix are among my favorites, but it's not quite a "salsa bar." Just a shelf of condiments to pep up your already delicious food.

                        -----
                        El Paso Taqueria
                        1643 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

                        Taco Mix
                        234 E 116th St, New York, NY 10029

              2. c
                CldSkndNdle Apr 6, 2011 10:04 AM

                Moe's on 1st ave has a free salsa bar. Its still "chain" style food though. Good, but, chain-style. :(
                There are very few places that even serve complimentary salsa and chips when you sit down. I suggest you hit up Calexico in Greenpoint (manhattan ave). They have food so incredibly yummy, that when you go home, you wish you had gotten another burrito to-go. They also serve free plantain chips and a special spicy, peanut salsa when you sit down (and will gladly refill!) AND they have a killer hot sauce selection at each table. oh, AND great drinks. Enjoy...

                -----
                Calexico
                125 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

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