At Astoria's El Rey, There's Mexican Food for Everyone

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
El Rey (2521 Astoria Boulevard, Queens, 718-545-2292) is a Mexican restaurant in Astoria, Queens. There are elevated red banquettes you have to step up into; these squishy booths make drinking buckets of miniature Coronas easier, even when it's cold outside. The twinkling Christmas lights bounce off mirrors emblazoned with Victoria logos, and there is a framed painting of a farm girl tending to a newborn calf who looks a little too pleased by the animal's wet tongue swiping her face.

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A Taste of the New Don Pancho Villa

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
Don Pancho Villa (189 Borinquen Place, Brooklyn; 718-388-4552) is a new Williamsburg restaurant that prompts a double-take. Located on a block of Grand Street just east of the BQE, it sports a wooden frame flashing its name in neon and a small parking lot; it looks as if it was sucked up from a suburban mall in Denver and plunked into Brooklyn.

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These Are the Best Tortillas of 2014

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
The requisite Best Of lists demand that we writers solidify our superlatives for the year. And 2014 was a bountiful one for moderate to upscale Mexican, as New York City chefs focused their efforts on the foundations of the cuisine, which has glided into the gastronomic limelight. But no wavering here — Mission Cantina (172 Orchard Street, 212-254-2233) has the best tortillas in the city.

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Get Ready for Holiday Feasting at East Harlem's La Cabaña

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
On a corner in East Harlem is La Cabaña (2277 First Avenue), a small restaurant with just a few tables that is, nonetheless, roomier than most bodegas-cum-taquerias that have you leaning into shelves of dry goods. There's a steam table of various stews, and a capacious kitchen, by New York standards. The waitress invites you to come take a peek at the ripples of beef in salsa verde with strips of nopales, the steamed rice dotted with diced carrot and peas, the pork spareribs sporting Christmas colors in a salsa of green tomatillos with flecks of red chile de arbol, and the two kinds of beans. She uncovers the compartments with a Vanna White flair.

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Mounting Cosme's Iron Gate for a Transportive Dessert

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
For something that doesn't actually produce sound waves, the hype surrounding Cosme (35 East 21st Street, 212-913-9659), acclaimed Mexican chef Enrique Olvera's first restaurant in the United States, has been deafening. Cosme has answered to the frenzy with a firm abutment, walling out tardy reservation holders, the beggars, and the unannounced. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant is booked through 2014, and those who have attempted to get their food in the door as walk-ins at odd hours have also been turned away.

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Corona's Famous Tortas Neza Finds a New Home

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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If you have spent considerable time in Corona, Queens, in the past decade, no doubt you know of Galdino Molinero. He is the torta master behind Tortas Neza, an emigre from Mexico City whose long path toward minor sandwich stardom started with selling sandwiches out of a backpack. He graduated to a bicycle, then a cart, a truck, and eventually a brick-and-mortar shop, an arc that had him toggling along the main artery of the borough over the course of 10 years, from Woodside to Corona.

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Jackson Heights Mexican Restaurant Maravillas Is Marvelous

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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The steam table shines inside Maravillas (37-64 90th Street, Queens; 718-507-5678), a Mexican restaurant in Jackson Heights that keeps the lights dimmed low. "Somos los Maravillosos en Comida Casera" says the menu. This means, "We are marvelous with homestyle food," which is certainly true of the soups and stews, braises, and anything saucey.

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Grasshoppers Are in Season! Here's Where to Get Them

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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'Tis the season for chapulines, grasshoppers of many different sizes and stripes that spring up throughout the summer and are harvested in early autumn as food. In markets throughout central and southern Mexico, chapulines are sold in big, rusty mounds; they're often toasted on the comal, seasoned with salt and lime, and eaten as a popular snack food.

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Where to Find a Great Suadero Taco

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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The beef hits the table, hot with trails of steam. The dark shards march down the center of pale tortillas lying flat, wreathed with chopped onion and cilantro, a spoonful of avocado sauce, a blaze of green. The filling is suadero, the namesake at Nuevo Tacos al Suadero (9406 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens; 718-429-0555) in Jackson Heights, and even in harsh fluorescent light, it beckons.

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It's Almost National Nacho Day! Try the New Meathook Nachos

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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As if you needed an excuse to consume nachos: National Nacho Day is tomorrow (Thursday), and that is clearly a legitimate reason. Long thought of as the best nachos in Williamsburg are the Cadillac nachos at beloved dive The Commodore -- the platter is also one of the most solid items on the menu. But there is a new contender for the neighborhood crown for the artful arrangement of cheese on chips. The Meathook Sandwich Shop (495 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn; 718-302-4665) is serving nachos ($8) on Saturdays and Sundays (and tomorrow, for happy hour, from 4 to 7 p.m.), piling up the Nixtamal Tortilleria tortilla chips and loading on the toppings.

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