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A smiling statue of a mariachi musician named Pepe keeps watch over Auténtica Mexican Restaurant’s dining room and menu of classic and contemporary Mexican dishes. Red and green chilies sourced from New Mexico add an extra kick to dishes ladled with Auténtica’s housemade sauces, such as extra-large 10-inch burritos filled with grilled vegetables and chicken, soft ground beef tacos, and housemade tamales. The menu also includes vegan and gluten-free iterations of quintessential Mexican flavors and recipes.
Casa De Nana lives up to the warmth and tradition implied by its name, which translates to grandmother's house. Founded in 1968, the cantina still retains many of the same Mexican recipes designed by its founders. The chefs make their own chips, salsa, and hot sauce and whip up favorites such as spinach enchiladas, blackened-shrimp tacos, and Nana's Diablo, a spicy chimichanga with ranchero sauce, pico de gallo, and jack cheese. At the bar, the staff serves Mexican beers and specialty margaritas crafted from more than 30 types of tequila as televisions practice broadcasting live sports.
What goes well with tableside-mashed guacamole, tilapia baja fish tacos, and fried poblano peppers stuffed with chipotle chicken? Tequila. The northeast's largest selection of tequila, according to staff. Mama Iguana pairs a menu of Spanish-written dishes with more than 200 tequilas, which they use to kick-start their popular house and specialty margaritas. Patrons can sip drinks and bite into tacos while seated in the restaurant's colorful indoor dining area, out on the 100-seat outdoor patio, or standing in the doorway armed with poblano peppers in each hand.
The chefs at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant & Cantina aim to cook authentic Mexican dishes unaltered by any Tex-Mex influence. Their recipes reach back generations within the owners' family and several miles into their underground tortilla vaults. Spanish-speaking servers deliver simple combinations of protein or veggies, topped with vibrant sauces: carne asada steak dressed in green pepper and guacamole, tender pork loin in tomatillo sauce, chicken in chocolate mole. The chefs' adherence to tradition doesn't preclude experimentation. Case in point: the dessert burrito, a lightly fried tortilla wrapped around apple-cinnamon or creamy cheesecake filling.
Both the menu and the decor change slightly from location to location—a painting of Mexico here, a tiled mosaic there. Each one, however, has a full bar where bartenders mix margaritas and flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports overhead.
Since opening the first location in 2004, the crew behind Hot Harry’s has attracted a slew of press for their Mexican-fusion fare. Chefs marinate six varieties of meat in cilantro, lime, and fresh-squeezed oranges before stuffing them in warm flour tortillas or piñatas designed for a butcher's retirement party. In addition to the classic triad of guacamole, sour cream, and cheese, they can enhance burritos with drizzles of thai-peanut and buffalo sauce.