One bite of Gabriela Hernandez’s cooking and restaurateur Artie Cutler knew he had to open a restaurant with her. Cutler, the mastermind behind such revolutionary restaurants as the Italian-inspired Carmine's and the Southern-inflected Virgil's Real BBQ, began devising the eatery. Meanwhile, Hernandez got to work on an authentic menu with the help of her family who, like the recipes that Cutler loved so much, came from the heart of Mexico. The doors of Gabriela’s Restaurant opened in 1992, and, despite Hernandez’s retirement, the staff continues to follow her traditional recipes today. The menu features such south-of-the-border favorites as fish tacos, empanadas filled with organic chicken, fajitas, enchiladas, and vegetarian chile rellenos, each in what Time Out New York describes as “heaping portions." To crown the zesty feasts, the staff curates a classic dessert menu of flan and fried ice cream, as well as an after-dinner tequila selection from their well-stocked bar.
To say that you can order nearly any Mexican dish you want at Cinco de Mayo isn't an exaggeration. Not only do they have a seemingly endless menu that includes burritos, sopas, enchiladas, and nearly 20 platos principales, but they even give you the option to build your own fajitas. The sizzling skillets are brought to your table with your choice of meat, such as lean grilled chicken or strips of skirt steak. If choosing from all these dishes feels like an impossible task, then opt for one of the many combination options, including Pancho's Trio, which has three different burritos blanketed in three different sauces.
Ah Chihuahua's impressive spread of healthy Southwestern and Latin fare combines traditional Mexican favorites with crowd-pleasing plates of Tex-Mex cuisine. With fajita and enchilada plates, corn or low-carb wheat tortillas formally enrobe sizzling veggies and succulent cuts of chicken or juicy steak and beef. Low-fat mozzarella drapes itself over saucy enchiladas suizas. Tasty taco shells deliver mouthwatering packages of beef or baked chicken, and crispy chips ferry passengers of freshly made guacamole to awaiting mouths.
Mexicocina's intimate dining room—awash in purple, yellow, and orange walls—welcomes guests to sup on handcrafted Mexican fare bellied up to its two- and four-top tables. The chefs employ a signature taco recipe, sprinkling the sautéed onions and cilantro of a traditional Mexican street taco with oaxaca white cheese and chipotle spices. Wrapped dishes, such as tacos and burritos, snuggle beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp within warm, handmade tortillas, also the preferred swaddling method for children of the corn.
The tacos and tiny bites dished out at Tepito Taqueria & Cantina mingle classic Mexican eats with inventive salsas and aioli that flabbergast taste buds with swirling notes of sweetness and spice. Mexico City–style shrimp cocktails, so named because that’s all they eat there, escort avocado and sangrita salsa, and heartier taco entrees of grilled meats, sautéed veggies, and housemade corn tortillas come smothered in aioli melding flavors of honey and habanero or mango and jalapeño.
Though Burger Zone opened its doors a scant six moons ago, its reputation for succulent kosher burgers is already deeply entrenched in the minds of city-dwelling sandwich-cravers. Flipping patties from lunch until the demi-midnight hour of 11:30 p.m., the cornucopia of sandwiches, which runs the gourmet gamut from beef and turkey to schnitzel and wild mushroom (each $7 à la carte and $11.50 as a meal), is matched only by the multifarious condiments, which includes hot chili, chimichurri, or, for the metacarnivore, a second burger. The chicken burger pairs a boastful, bread-beset fowl with fresh basil and walnuts ($7), and the lamb burger, notoriously silent, offers a portable take on a luxurious classic ($9). All solitary burgers and sandwiches may be upgraded to a meal with any drink plus fries or onion rings, which in turn may be substituted for fried mushrooms for an additional $0.75. Further upgrades are available for grain-seekers, with whole-wheat buns running an additional $0.50.