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Authentic Mexican food and great cocktails

FlavaInYaEar Jun 15, 2011 04:48 PM

Does anyone have any suggestions for great mexican food and a variety of yummy cocktails...reasonably priced, for this Friday. Thanks :)

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  1. k
    kathryn RE: FlavaInYaEar Jun 15, 2011 05:59 PM

    For Brooklyn and The Bronx, you'll need to post to the Outer Boroughs board.

    What is your price range for food only, per person?

    See also:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767094

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn
      FlavaInYaEar RE: kathryn Jun 15, 2011 06:45 PM

      I would say $20 for food. Thanks

    2. LeahBaila RE: FlavaInYaEar Jun 16, 2011 05:58 AM

      In Manhattan, I'd say that Barrio Chino is probably the best spot to go to that *also* serves "yummy cocktails." Alternatively, you could look in to: Papatzul, Toloache, Hecho en Dumbo. I'm not sure where you're coming in from, or if you're local, but Mexican food in Manhattan isn't cheap, unlike many other cities across the US - meaning that a $20/person food budget may not cut it, if you're looking to go to a place that also serves "a variety of yummy cocktails."
      Personally, having viewed "La Camelia's" menu on Grub Street this week, I'm looking forward to checking that out soon: http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2011/06....

      www.TheLunchBelle.com

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

      Barrio Chino
      253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

      Papatzul
      55 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013

      Hecho en Dumbo
      354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

      La Camelia
      64 Downing St, New York, NY 10014

      1. sgordon RE: FlavaInYaEar Jun 16, 2011 06:00 AM

        Start with a couple tacos at Tacos Morelos, a street cart on Ave a & 2nd St, then go for cocktails and bar snacks at Mayahuel.

        Or, if you can stretch your budget a bit, go to Itzocan Cafe for dinner instead of getting tacos.

        -----
        Itzocan Cafe
        438 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

        Mayahuel
        304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

        Tacos Morelos
        2nd Street and Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

        12 Replies
        1. re: sgordon
          c
          City Kid RE: sgordon Jun 16, 2011 07:08 AM

          I like Itzocan but anyone looking for "authentic Mexican" will be surprised and perhaps disappointed...it is French/Mexican with nothing much resembling Mexican on the dinner menu.

          1. re: City Kid
            t
            tosharona RE: City Kid Jul 26, 2011 03:33 PM

            Finding good cheap Mexican food in NYC is tough. I really like La Superior in Brooklyn (and will trek from the UES for it), small place w great food and delicious cocktails.
            In Manhattan - Rosa Mexicano is good but expensive, Dos Caminos has a fun vibe with decent food and good cocktails, good for brunch, and I agree w/Hecho en Dumbo.

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

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

            Hecho en Dumbo
            354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: tosharona
              JungMann RE: tosharona Jul 27, 2011 05:57 AM

              Manhattan's Mexican neighborhood lies just north of the UES. There are plenty of retaurants in Spanish Harlem with good-to-great food, though finding a place with cocktail service or an upscale atmosphere takes a little more effort.

              1. re: JungMann
                g
                gutsofsteel RE: JungMann Jul 27, 2011 06:43 AM

                Please tell me some restaurants in Spanish Harlem that have great food.

                1. re: gutsofsteel
                  JungMann RE: gutsofsteel Jul 27, 2011 06:57 AM

                  City Kid mentioned Itzocan. My personal favorite is Cafe Ollin. More casually, there are plenty of taquerias such as Taco Mix or JalapeƱo Deli.

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

                  Cafe Ollin
                  339 E 108th St, New York, NY 10029

                  Jalapeno Deli
                  1629 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

                  1. re: JungMann
                    c
                    City Kid RE: JungMann Jul 27, 2011 07:30 AM

                    Sadly, Itzocan in Spanish Harlem just closed :( I also really like Cafe Ollin - really good, really authentic and so reasonable!

                    -----
                    Itzocan Bistro
                    1575 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

                    1. re: City Kid
                      rose water RE: City Kid Jul 27, 2011 08:48 AM

                      Oh, that's really sad! I also worry about Moustache, just down the block, and really hope it survives. I need to get to Cafe Ollin.

                      -----
                      Moustache
                      1621 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

                      Cafe Ollin
                      339 E 108th St, New York, NY 10029

                    2. re: JungMann
                      g
                      gutsofsteel RE: JungMann Jul 27, 2011 08:13 AM

                      I would never have called Itzocan "great." And while I like Cafe Ollin and Taco Mix, to say they are "great" is an overstatement.

                      -----
                      Itzocan Bistro
                      1575 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

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

                      Cafe Ollin
                      339 E 108th St, New York, NY 10029

                      1. re: gutsofsteel
                        JungMann RE: gutsofsteel Jul 27, 2011 09:41 AM

                        I will grant you that these aren't the greatest Mexican restaurants in the country, but given that NYC is not LA or Chicago, I think Cafe Ollin is among the better options in the city. A chacun son gout.

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                        Cafe Ollin
                        339 E 108th St, New York, NY 10029

                        1. re: JungMann
                          MVNYC RE: JungMann Jul 27, 2011 09:44 AM

                          I have not tried this place, what do you like here?

                          1. re: MVNYC
                            JungMann RE: MVNYC Jul 27, 2011 09:49 AM

                            They have the best cemitas and tortas I've had in New York. From their large plates, I love dishes drowned in their salsas like tortitas de camerones or enchiladas.

                2. re: tosharona
                  k
                  kathryn RE: tosharona Jul 27, 2011 06:00 AM

                  The cocktails I've had at Dos Caminos were terrible--all sugar.

            2. s
              Sneakeater RE: FlavaInYaEar Jul 27, 2011 08:56 AM

              RANT: What's holding Mexican food back in New York is that people associate it with partying rather than dining. You'd never see anybody ask for "authentic Italian food and great cocktails" or "authentic Turkish food and great cocktails" or "authentic Japanese food and great cocktails." But when the talk turns to Mexican, it's Party Time.

              And speaking about authenticity, although there is obviously such a thing as a Margarita, it's not like Mexico has a strong entrenched cocktail culture to go along with its cuisine. So the more "authentic" a Mexican restaurant, the LESS likely it is to have "great cocktails."

              3 Replies
              1. re: Sneakeater
                MVNYC RE: Sneakeater Jul 27, 2011 09:15 AM

                I have spent some time in Mexico and would say this is accurate. I mostly drank beer (or pulque which I wasn't a huge fan of) except when fine dining on the expense report in the DF where I would drink wine. Most of the good Mexican in NYC is not found in places where you will find cocktails. Taco Mix and the taco place right down the block are both very similar to street tacos you will find in Mexico and are good.

                That said the OP still associates Mexican with cocktails and you can get some decent food. I have not been to it in awhile but remember enjoying the skirt steak and the margaritas at La Palapa in the East Village. Not Earth shattering but pretty good. Though judging by the time of the post they probably picked something out

                -----
                La Palapa
                77 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: Sneakeater
                  m
                  Mr Porkchop RE: Sneakeater Jul 27, 2011 12:05 PM

                  It's interesting to the extent the cocktail really is another one of those American inventions like jazz and blue jeans we've exported to the world. Maybe it's apocrypha, but I've always understood that the cocktail came into its own during American prohibition as a way to disguise the flavors of prohibition era quaff like bathtub gin. Maybe that's too cute a story to be true, but I certainly believe the margarita's history as a tourist drink designed to cover up the taste of tequila for those who would rather not taste it. It's a border culinary contribution up there with other inventions like nachos and the caesar salad.

                  Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing the OP is not after hyper-authentic food, which tends to be mutually exclusive with yummy cocktails (perhaps aside from "beer cocktails" like the michelada, which are legitimately popular), but an authentic version of whatever version of Mexican he or she is used too, but a step above the NYC margarita mill. I think Cascabal or Empellon might be good suggestions (though for reasonably priced and a Friday, Empellon is out). Some people really like the two Mercaditos, though I can't say I'm a fan, and find their drinks weak.

                  I will disagree with Sneakeater in one important regard. I like to get drunk at restaurants regardless of cuisine and will often be heard saying "I want... authentic Italian with lots of gulpable table wine... authentic Turkish and a bottle of raki... an authentic Japanese izakaya with so much sake I have to be carried out..." and so on and so forth.

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

                  Empellon Taqueria
                  230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                  Mercadito
                  179 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                  1. re: Mr Porkchop
                    s
                    Sneakeater RE: Mr Porkchop Jul 27, 2011 01:12 PM

                    PLEASE don't infer I don't like getting drunk in restaurants!

                2. b
                  Bkeats RE: FlavaInYaEar Jul 27, 2011 10:13 AM

                  Can't speak for authenticity but Centrico and Empellon are fun with good food and cocktails but the $20 budget won't work.

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                  Centrico
                  211 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  Empellon Taqueria
                  230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                  1. m
                    makko RE: FlavaInYaEar Jul 27, 2011 10:29 AM

                    How about El Parador on E34 near the tunnel entrance.
                    Been around a long time, must be doing something right.
                    I remember when they were located a few blocks away on 2nd Ave. in the late 60's.

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

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