NYC
Updated May 15, 2021, Posted September 16, 2018

Summary

I had been to this Michelin 1 star restaurant with a friend for brunch. We were underwhelmed as we’ve been to several Mexican restaurants in Southern California. My partner hasn’t tried this before, so I thought to give it another shot for dinner. Note that the restaurant does not take reservations. We were able to walk in at 5 PM on a Saturday evening and be seated indoors right away. Take note that there is usually a line outside because people want to wait for outdoor tables.

These are simply hot sauces going from mild (left) to hot (right). The left is very similar to a salsa verde style flavor. The middle is a tad more spicy but also has some more chipotle peppers in it. And the right is simply just hot. One interesting thing though is you can mix all 3, and it still tasted great. The front is simply just some snacks to also test and try the sauces.

The pisco sour (left) came with Pisco 100, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters. My partner ordered this and enjoyed it. It definitely had good flavors and is on the stronger side.

The noche buena mexcal (right) came with Peloton de la Muerte mezcal, fresh orange juice, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. The mezcal had a the perfect amount of smoke, and of course, blended well with everything.

The ceviche de pescado came with market fish cooked in lime, onion, avocado, and tomato and chile serrano peppers. It also came with a side of chips. The portion of this was on the smaller size, but it was definitely pretty good as expected. Arguably, I think the expected value for this is not going to be as good as other ceviche restaurants around the area.

The pastor tacos came with pork marinated in chilies and pineapple. These pastor tacos, price aside, were absolutely delicious. The pork was full of flavors, and I literally crave eating a burrito with this. The tortillas are thin similar Tijuana style tacos. Compared to Los Angeles pastor tacos, it’s definitely very pricey, and comparable in taste.

The lengua tacos came with slowly cooked cow tongue. Tongue tacos have always been my favorite tacos, and this was no exception. Like the pastor tacos, I can literally stuff this meat in a burrito. It has the perfect char and flavor on it. It is also expensive, but if that’s ok, you won’t be disappointed with the flavors of this.

The mole de piaxtla came with mole sauce made following the traditional method using a mix of dry peppers, almonds, raisins, plaintain, sesame seeds, and chocolate over chicken and rice. My partner ordered this because they have never had mole before. The chicken was extremely tender, but my partner was surprised by the sweet sauce. The mole though had a very nice consistency similar to authentic Oaxacan style (my reference is a place called EK Valley in Culver City, CA), but I think they would have preferred this to be more savory than sweet.

The pozole de mi tia was a red hominy pork soup and came with oregano, radish, onion, avocado, and garnish. It’s also served with chips. Like menudo, this type of soup is often drank as hangover food. Overall flavor wise, it’s not completely different than California Mexican food, but actually very comparable and just ever so slightly elevated. Instead of using small chunks of pork, they use large shredded chunks of pork, and they definitely did not shy away from portions. When you mix in all the little seasoning sides including the limes, the broth is very satisfying and pleasant. It’s definitely very delectable without being drunk.

The service as expected was very attentive. The ambiance on this Saturday night was very lively and not crowded. This restaurant definitely gives a vibe that makes it a little more “upscale” than other nearby Mexican (Latin inspired) restaurants.

Final Verdict

This establishment has been around for a number of years, so let’s set the record straight. If you have a decent imbued knowledge of California Mexican scenes, this restaurant will not blow your mind. It’s really good, but value wise, you are going to be disappointed and upset. Now compared to other Mexican restaurants in the city and around the Long Island City scene, this place is actually high on my delicious list.

Yelp Jabs

Overly expensive for what it is. I mean $16 guac really?? Dinner for dinner with couple of margs tip included $270! This place is just on par with other Mexican restaurants in the area at a fraction of the price. I think they are milking that Michelin star review status.

In my previous visit, the guacamole was good but definitely not $16 good. But yeah, if you recklessly order drinks, you will be punished. This is typical NYC expectation though. I believe even before they got the Michelin star, they were pricey back then.

Definitely needed a little more flavor. My date said the fish tacos she ordered were not seasoned and it was evident they hoped the other items in the taco would mask that. I had the vegan tacos and was prepared for some well seasoned tofu but it was mushroom (I’m not a mushroom fan)

If you want fish tacos with lots of flavors, you have to go baja style. I think many restaurants offer vegan options to allow a wide variety of customers. Unless the restaurant really hones in on vegans, I would not expect flavors to be out of this world.