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What is the best Mexican restaurant in Jackson Heights?

Wet Towel Apr 29, 2011 11:24 AM

for big group? thoughts?

  1. j
    JFores Jun 6, 2011 08:27 AM

    Probably Taqueria Coatzingo. Very good food, very good prices, gringo friendly and it's large enough to hold plenty of people.

    Taqueria Coatzingo
    76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

    4 Replies
    1. re: JFores
      Robotron Jun 6, 2011 11:31 AM

      I love Taqueria Coatzingo, too. But am wondering if there are any Mexican restaurants in Jackson Heights that is more upscale, that features a more innovative menu.

      Taqueria Coatzingo
      76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

      1. re: Robotron
        driggs Jun 7, 2011 09:43 AM

        Jackson heights and upscale is not often used in same sentence. If you walk 37th avenue, not Roosevelt, you will tend to find more family oriented places with table cloths et all.

        1. re: driggs
          JH Jill Jun 19, 2011 12:40 PM

          Actually, we have some more restaurants that are a lot more upscale than Coatzingo, but they don't tend to be Mexican. They are far from perfect, but places like La Pequeña Colombia on Roosevelt & 84th just had a major renovation. La Porteña (atmosphere, but possible downhill alert) and El Chivito d'Oro (great food but a bit noisy) for meat and Argentine/Uruguayan pasta. There are also Indian places like Delhi Heights and Delhi Palace that are more upscale. Obviously, these are not Manhattan upscale, but on a Queens scale, I think they qualify. The thing is that the Mexican population in NY and in this area is still relatively new and near the bottom rung of the economic scale thus not able to support more expensive places.

          El Chivito D'Oro
          84-02 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          La Pequena Colombia
          83-27 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          La Portena
          74-25 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          Delhi Palace
          37-33 74th St, Queens, NY 11372

          Delhi Heights
          37-66 74th St, Queens, NY 11372

        2. re: Robotron
          Joe MacBu Jun 7, 2011 09:54 AM

          I haven't been, but I just saw "upscale" + "Mexican" for El Coyote on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-coyote-res...

          There is fajitas on the menu...is that innovative for the hood?

          El Coyote
          80-18 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11372

      2. driggs Jun 6, 2011 11:12 AM

        I would agree, for a large group Taqueria Coatzingo has probably the best combo of ease of use and good food.

        It is open 24 hours a day. Here is a picture from late at night there

        Try the daily specials, listed on a small card on each table. They are usually the best.

        Taqueria Coatzingo
        76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

        9 Replies
        1. re: driggs
          CitySpoonful Jun 7, 2011 01:29 PM

          Any idea if they have micheladas here and, if so, if they're any good?

          1. re: CitySpoonful
            Joe MacBu Jun 7, 2011 01:52 PM

            They've made them for me. I'm not a fan of micheladas, so not a good judge.

            1. re: Joe MacBu
              CitySpoonful Jun 10, 2011 04:20 AM

              Good to know. Thanks Joe.

            2. re: CitySpoonful
              driggs Jun 8, 2011 06:22 AM

              They will make it, but they are not particularly good. There are many Mexican bars around, but they are more Bikini or Taxi bars than a place to get a good Michelada

              cross the street is Scorpion Bar, here is a little photo series I did on it to give you a sense on what they are like


              I would also add I have never found two people, much less two Mexican bars, that agree on what goes into a Michelada.

              69-08 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

              1. re: driggs
                CitySpoonful Jun 10, 2011 04:27 AM

                Great photos, driggs. What, in your opinion, constitutes a good michelada? Why didn't you like the ones at Taqueria Coatzingo?

                From what I've read, hot sauce, lime juice, salt, red chili powder and a dash of Worcestership sauce are involved. I recently enjoyed the version I had at a little restaurant on B'way in Astoria that otherwise has pretty awful food (Guacamole) -- it was a pretty well balanced combo of salty and spicy and tangy flavors with Dos Equis (our waiter's rec for beer, though I'm more of a Negro Modelo fan myself....).

                I tried recreating that particular michelada at home using Indian spices (chaat masala and red chili powder) and lime juice. Have I besmirched the michelada tradition? :)

                Taqueria Coatzingo
                76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                1. re: CitySpoonful
                  driggs Jun 10, 2011 05:40 AM

                  I am partial to a lighter beer (like Tecate) mixed with some combo of spicy/salty. To me a Michelada has to have Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. I have also had it with soy sauce, chili paste, etc. Oh, and salt on the rim.

                  For me its the clash between the lighter cooler beer and the harsh salt/spice of the other ingredients.

                  I think Indian spices would be amazing. The only mixed drink I have ever really fallen for (I am a beer man) was the Indian Bloody mary from Tabla

                  1. re: driggs
                    CitySpoonful Jun 10, 2011 07:30 AM

                    Ooh, soy sauce. Nice. I'm curious -- what didn't you like about Taqueria Coatzingo's michelada? Is it avoid-at-all-costs awful? Or just eh?

                    Taqueria Coatzingo
                    76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                    1. re: CitySpoonful
                      Joe MacBu Jun 10, 2011 11:38 AM

                      To me it was just eh. Drinkable. Sounds like you really want to try it, so go for it!

                      1. re: Joe MacBu
                        CitySpoonful Jun 10, 2011 11:49 AM

                        Cheers to that!

          2. a
            AubWah Jun 7, 2011 06:46 PM

            mexican food for mexicans is not upscale

            4 Replies
            1. re: AubWah
              Mr Porkchop Jun 23, 2011 09:12 AM

              Well, those sort of blanket statements are not the best way to describe the habits of a diverse 100 million people. That said, the economic forces that bring a lot of Mexicans to a place like Jackson Heights attract, in large part, disproportionately men from the poorest segments of Mexican society that typically aren't looking for upscale or expensive food (even though they may be cooking yours). I think that's part of the reason I have been generally un-blown-away by the Mexican food in JH outside a few trucks or carts.

              I will be contrarian and say I don't think Taqueria Coatzingo deserves the acclaim it gets here (I've eaten at both of them). I think it's only "good." It was pretty empty when I went this past Saturday before checking out the Canelo fight at a nearby bar. Though the Mexico soccer game could of had something to do with that (it was playing, and those in there were watching). I liked the beer bucket option, and the ability to mix and match, though that's pretty typical for the 'hood. After the initial chips (the first salsa they put out was honestly bad, almost ketchupy, the later round of salsa was better), we split a cemita (finally got papalo from them, but it was sparse), beef flautas, and some barbacoa. I will say, the flautas, which were an afterthought, were really delicious, stuffed with some tender beef instead of the shoe leather you sometimes get. But the barbacoa simply wasn't good. Dry and stringy. Much better is available weekends at El Mariachi in Astoria. It's getting increasingly difficult to justify the trip out to JH for Mexican food specifically when you can find comparable stuff now in most parts of Queens.

              Oh, and Robotron, not Jackson Heights, and I haven't been, but have you considered De Mole in Sunnyside for something a bit more "upscale"?

              Taqueria Coatzingo
              76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

              De Mole
              45-02 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

              Viva El Mariachi
              33-11 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106

              1. re: Mr Porkchop
                el jefe Jun 23, 2011 12:45 PM

                I was at Coatzingo too on Saturday night during the soccer match. I went specifically for the weekend barbacoa special, which was as good as ever. The soup that comes with it is one of my favorite dishes in all of NYC. My wife's Adobo de Puerco was excellent too.

                I don't know which Coatzingo you were in, but the one on Roosevelt/76 was pretty busy. Not full with a line out the door as it is sometimes on weekends, but the Mexican soccer match wasn't the reason. My wife noticed that when we sat down we were probably the only gringos in there.

                I've tried several of the other Mexican restaurants in JH and Corona and some of them are probably equal to Coatzingo. Specifically, Tulcingo on 102 St is excellent. But they don't offer the soup with the barbacoa. The problem with most of the other Mexican restaurants is that they turn up the volume on the ever-present TV to match the deafening jukebox. I can easily have a conversation at Coatzingo where they rarely turn on the sound on the TV. As for the OP's question, this should be a consideration.

                I agree with your suggestion, though, to try De Mole for more upscale Mexican.

                De Mole
                45-02 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                1. re: el jefe
                  Mr Porkchop Jun 24, 2011 10:24 AM

                  I was at the one on 82nd this time since it was closer to where we were watching the fight. The accompanying soup was tasty, and I should have mentioned it, but the meat is the focus of barbacoa for my money.

                  I've eaten at both a few times, and there are some things where I go "hey, this is good," like with the al pastor mentioned below. I don't think it's truly exceptional though. I'll probably continue to be a dissenting voice on this issue.

                  Thanks for suggestion of Tulcingo. Maybe I'll try it next time out there.

                2. re: Mr Porkchop
                  Silverjay Jun 23, 2011 01:12 PM

                  TC's strengths are their tacos- specifically the al pastor (they have an actual al pastor spit going), the beef tongue, and the birria de res. The others are fine, but not superlative- although they are plumper than other places. Their cemitas are also very solid, but they make them different every time- sometimes with papalo, sometimes cilantro, sometimes with jalepenos, sometimes with chipotle adobo. But they are always well stacked. The milanese are very good, but with any of the above mentioned taco meats also make a good sandwich. I've ordered the barbacoa a couple of times and I like the soup as mentioned below, but the meat can be stringy as you say. The single best entree/ special I've had there is the lengua al vapor in salsa verde. Actually, their salsa verde is excellent and anything tastes reasonable in it. But the steamed beef tongue is superb. And the portion is huge. Some of their specials are really hit and miss and the meat quality isn't the best.

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