Carne asada, chiles rellenos, quesadillas—these dishes have become familiar sights on a Mexican restaurants menu. Gusano Loco's bill of cuisine lists these, as well as carefully crafted house specialties. For the carne arrachera, the kitchen crew marinates steak in a zesty house barbecue sauce, while for the seafood chiles, poblano peppers burst with sautéed shrimp and garlic. Meanwhile, waitstaff pours pitchers of the house sangria, made with wine and fresh fruit, which can make for a well-round meal that hits all levels of the food pyramid—meat, fruit, and stuff that tastes like candy.
The chefs at Tequila Sunrise assemble a prix fixe dinner menu that whisks taste buds away on a Mexican holiday. From the comfort of the spacious 200-seat dining room or an underwater castle, tablemates sample appetizers such as cheese-covered nachos or chicken and black bean empanadas. Baja fish tacos regale orders of classic ground beef or chicken tacos with tales of the high seas, while melted queso blanco hibernates beneath chiles rellenos. The sweet flavors of flan or fried ice cream seal the meal, as strolling mariachis accompany the sounds of clinking cutlery on Friday and Saturday nights.
Amid the vibrant décor of Vega Mexican Cuisine, chefs treat patrons to a menu suffused with gooey quesadillas, piping-hot soups, house-made tortillas and salsas, and a host of organic ingredients. Diners can warm belly motors with a bowl of creamy poblano chili soup—corn kernels, potatoes, and mushrooms drenched in cheese—beneath the watchful eyes of a Frida Kahlo portrait or anchor fork tines in a salmon salad drizzled in a honey-chipotle creamy dressing. An eclectic assortment of chandeliers bathes colorful booths in warm lighting as dinnertime eaters sup on shrimp fajitas, which conceal adobo spices and Carmen Sandiego beneath a medley of onions, bell peppers, and cilantro.
Taco Sueño serves a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, fueling lively meals in the restaurant's cozy dining room or filling carryout orders for at-home appetizing. Limber up out-of-shape taste buds with an order of jalapeños rellenos ($3.50)—house-pickled peppers stuffed with tuna—or a bowl of fresh guacamole served with chips, warm tortillas, or a T-shirt cannon for delicious airborne delivery ($5.75). A collection of tacos calms hands-on hungers with grilled beef, homemade chorizo, and other fillings topped with guacamole, onions, cilantro, and your choice of salsa ($2.25 each, three for $6). Supplement satiation with Mexican entrees such as a trio of tasty enchiladas ($9.95) or milanesa de pollo, a chicken torta topped with Oaxaca–style cheese, avocado, and a warm blanket of refried beans ($7.95). Patrons get around tortilla allergies with refreshing bowls of sopa de verduras ($4.75)—a savory mushroom-and-squash soup—or ensalade de aguacate, featuring diced avocados, tomatoes, and onions tossed in a lime-juice vinaigrette ($6.95).
After accruing more than 10 years of culinary experience in restaurants' kitchens and back offices, the restaurateurs behind Mexico Magico set out to create a dining experience that replicated both the atmosphere and flavors of traditional Mexican restaurants. They execute this vision by using preternaturally fresh ingredients imported from the future to forge pan-regional entrees, including Oaxaca-style red snapper and flame-kissed steaks. The kitchen crowns entrees with mole sauces, house-made salsas, and guacamole made fresh daily from haas avocados, lending a piquant touch to dishes such as the pollo asado, a grilled chicken breast marinated in parsley.
Like many New Yorkers, Bruce Beck arrived in the city after studying theater; like many more still, he stayed for the food. Since joining the industry in 1979, Bruce has opened his own chocolate shop, written two cookbooks, taught chefs at The New School in Manhattan, and opened two restaurants—including the Mexican-inspired eatery Taco Sueño and its successor, Yucatán.
At the latter restaurant, chefs complement their familiar tacos and burritos with specialties such as pollo dorado a la Yucatán—a crispy half-chicken with chile habanero dipping sauce, pineapple slaw, and fries. At the full bar, mixologists prepare classic cocktails such as the margarita, a drink made to taste like the Caribbean's fruity, salt-rimmed waters.
Nachos, flautas, guacamole, and quesadillas—these are some of the top contenders for most popular dish at Metate Authentic. You'll find all four not only inside early, messy prototypes of the piñata, but also on the Metate Fiesta appetizer platter. The starter represents Metate's menu at large, an impressive spread of traditional, freshly made Mexican dishes. And, true to the eatery's name, each incorporates authentic spices, peppers, and seasonings, from the dried artisanal chilis and chocolate atop chicken and rice in the mole poblano to the chipotle sauce over filet mignon medallions in a dish of filete al chipotle.