I've heard many bemoan the state of the Mexican food scene in New York City. I'm sick of it! So is food writer Ligaya Mishan, who addresses the topic in the latest Hungry City column in the New York Times.
Admittedly, we don't live in Los Angeles or even Houston, where the Mexican culinary offerings are consistently top-notch. That said, please note that both of those cities are home to several branches of Taco Bell. (On the flip-side, I am always embarrassed that Domino's seems to thrive in the five boroughs. But, pizza isn't the focus today...)
New York may not have as many excellent Mexican restaurants, but it does have some -- and they are fantastic. In addition to the brilliant Mexican food trucks and carts that dot the city, NYC boasts some terrific Mexican dining spots.
First up, have you visited Sunset Park's Little Latin America? If not, I suggest a food crawl ASAP to tuck into Lengua Tacos, Carnita Tacos, Arabes Tacos and overstuffed Chorizo and Egg Tortas that will make you cry delicioso!
Looking for your Mexican in a fancier environment? Check out Hecho en Dumbo, which moved a while back to the East Village. Reserve a seat in the kitchen to enjoy the restaurant's Chef's Table five-course, which will set before you to a whole new range of Mexican flavors and textures. Fonda, with outposts in Park Slope and the East Village, is also a lovely spot to get some authentic Mexican dishes. And if you're in the Theater District, you would be remiss not to stop by Toloache, if only for an introduction to Mexico's version of the Ceviche, and an order of the De Lechon (aka Suckling Pig) Tacos.
Game for a trip on the 7 traib to Long Island City, Queens? Then, I strongly advise a visit to Casa Enrique. A photo of this Mexican jewel's Guacamole is above, but make sure to also order the Puebla dish of Mole De Piaxtla, a plate of chicken enchiladas enrobed in a vibrant, rich sauce of dry peppers, almonds, raisins, plantain, sesame seeds and chocolate, beautifully striped with a piping of sour cream.
So, move to Los Angeles if you must. That just leaves more amazing Mexican food in New York for the rest of us.