Authentic Mexican (Tijuana) food in NYC?
A friend who is originally from Tijuana but now lives in San Diego will be visiting in a few months. His chief complaint is that NYC doesn't have good Mexican restaurant and I'd love to prove him wrong. This is what he wrote :
Menu must have Lengua, cabeza, adobado, carne asada, pollo asado, tripas, horchata, NOT black beans, but pinto/refried and not gooey yellow rice, Crema Mexicana not sour cream, cotija cheese not yellow.
To my surprise I didn't find too many places that matched.. I'm looking for some good recommendations that we can try... thanks
Have him connect through Houston, we have all of the above, we're not just Tex-Mex. Seriously, good luck and show him the best you have, and then show all the great food NYC has that is not available in San Diego or Tijuana.
It's hard to find Tijuana food in Tijuana (or even in the southern parts of San Diego).
You're not likely to find it (or any similar facsimile of it) in high-rent districts like Manhattan.
There are plenty of places around NYC to find Mexican dishes as prescribed by your friend. There is a significant Mexican immigrant community in NYC since the late 1990s, which has changed the food landscape around many parts of the city. However, you'll have to get to those parts of the city.
Here's an example of a listing of places along one street in Queens (that was 10 years ago! dang!).
A lot has changed since I've written that, but that probably gives you a hint of what's available. There are other concentrations of Mexicans in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and in Spanish Harlem. Try those on for size and let your friend know.
Your friend isn't going to be impressed. Sure, there's some good Mexican in New York, and huge Mexican communities, but it's still not really up for the challenge. None of it's going to make your friend envious.
None of the places are solid across the board....they might have great refriend beans, but they'll serve sour cream....or they serve crema, but they don't carry tongue...and if they still manage that balancing act, the carne asada is tough as leather. Notice nobody is suggesting a single place in their answers?
I think NY thrives more in upscale Mexican, and faux street Mexican rather than actual street Mexican.