Greenpoint's New Calexico Carne Asada

Yikes! The bland guacamole tastes mainly of oregano, and it's expensive, too.

Few food carts have been ballyhooed as much as Calexico's, which show up on a regular basis in Soho, Williamsburg, and Brookyn Bridge Park. In fact, they won a Vendy Award in 2008. Inevitably, these purveyors of California-style Mexican cuisine have moved into brick and mortar, including a first location in Red Hook, with a second promised in Greenpoint.

The build-out of the restaurant is spacious and comfortable, and the drinks are tasty, including a fine margarita, but the food disappoints.

Well, the Greenpoint location recently opened at the quintessential corner of Bedford and Manhattan avenues, which my friends in the neighborhood had been eagerly anticipating. I went to find out what all the fuss was about, and discovered a big, airy bar with plenty of tables, high ceilings, and many square yards of exposed brick, a comfortable place that has apparently been thronged from the minute it opened.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the cocktails but was very disappointed with the food. The guacamole, at $10, is on the expensive side. What's more, some bright bulb in the kitchen substituted oregano for cilantro, which is an awful idea. Though chunky and freshly made, my date and I left most of it in the bowl.

The place is not knocking itself out, menu-wise, though maybe the bill of fare will be expanded eventually. For the time being, aside from a few salads and apps, the only things being offered are tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and the Mexican sandwiches called tortas.

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