According to the great Stephen King we have officially overused the word amazing, but every once in a while there’s just no better fitting word. The following three Mexican restaurants I have been to, are 100% amazing. Without a doubt they are amongst the best of New York City.
Take the 7 train from Grand Central Station just one stop into Queens, and you will land in Long Island City, just one block away from Casa Enrique. It’s an old neighborhood that is slowly taken over by tall new buildings and new neighbors from around the globe. 49th Avenue is still old New York, and upon entry into Casa Enrique you are almost surprised by the white, clean, modern lines. Nevertheless, the patrons are New Yorkers in the middle of having fun and good food, and I’m excited about the upcoming meal. This place has earned a Michelin Star, so I’m wiggling in my chair with anticipation.
I’m dining with a good friend, and we are sharing dishes: Ceviche de Pescado, which is the best I’ve had so far; Ostiones Empanizados, which are fried oysters with the most delicious chili mayonnaise. We then split some tacos: Suadero (slow cooked brisket), and Pescado (market fish). Everything is traditional, yet taken to a higher level. I rarely leave Manhattan to eat, but this short subway ride to culinary excellence is highly recommended, my friend and were in love with everything here…
Chef Enrique Olvera is considered one of the best chefs to date, as he owns Pujol, one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, which is located in Mexico City. He has opened Cosme here in New York a few years ago, and now Atla, which is considered Cosme’s little sister. It might be smaller in sister in size, but taste wise, there’s nothing little about Atla. I have been to Cosme, and the little sister has nothing to fret about, the flavors here are just as bold and exceptional.
I had a quiet dinner by myself, chatting with the friendly bartenders, starting my meal with Nantucket Bay Scallops with olive oil and Red Kosho. The scallops were like butter, so smooth, and the sauce (broth?) was so good, I was looking for bread to dip it in. Being that it was Tuesday, I obviously had to have both tacos: the first with pork belly, hoja santa and avocado; the other being cauliflower al Pastor. Both tacos were flavored in a way that I have never tasted before, which is priceless to me. I adored this place.
Chef Alex Stupak was nominated for a James Beard Award (Best Chef New York City), and so was his restaurant Empellón (Best Restaurant New York City) 2018, and the grandiose restaurant located on Madison Avenue promises an elevated experience as you walk in. Simple chic amidst the huge bi-level eatery are impressive.
I happened to visit during Restaurant Week with my daughter, so we got to try a myriad of dishes. Of course we had to start with Guacamole with Seven Salsas, which range from mild and delicious to fiery and exceptional. Our appetizers were a Sticky Rice Tamale with Red Chile Duck, and King Salmon with Gooseberries and Trout Roe Salsa. We then had the obligatory tacos (Fish Tempura with Lime Mayonnaise and Pastrami with Mustard Seed Salsa). If you’re foodie, then you know Alex Stupak was a longtime pastry chef at Alinea in Chicago, so under no circumstance was I taking the desserts lightly! We shared a Chocolate Mousse with Goat’s Milk Raspado and Chickory Cold Brew, and Pineapple with Piloncillo, Bee Pollen and Chamomile Ice Cream. Do I have to say it? It was outstanding….