Salsa Salsa's cooks prepare sumptuous specialties such as BLT tacos, 3 way sizzling fajitas, and specialty quesadillas. Diners can also choose healthy options such as vegetarian eggplant chili or whole-wheat burritos filled with garlicky spinach. Over 60 types of tequila are offered as well as mixed margaritas and sangria muddled with premium spirits and fresh fruits.
Ahi seared tuna over soba noodles. Teriyaki chicken skewers. Oriental chicken dumplings. Items like these aren’t found at the typical Mexican restaurant, but they fit right in at Agave’s Tequila Bar & Lounge, where a quick glance at the appetizers makes the eatery’s culinary twist clear: Mexican food, with an Asian influence. There’s no shortage of traditional south-of-the-border favorites, but on the whole, Agave’s chefs turn things up a bit when it comes to their tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, offering customers fillings beyond the usual ground beef and grilled piñatas—for example, fried Montauk flounder, sautéed tiger shrimp, and grilled sesame tuna. The house specialties deliver as well, with everything from traditional seafood paella to tuna bronseado splayed across rice beneath a crown of Asian slaw.
However, there's no mixing of cultures when it comes to Agave’s drinks. As a tequila bar, the eatery is, of course, known for flights of Don Julio, Partida, and Corzo, and bartenders also muddle fresh margaritas on the spot. Patrons can enjoy their sips amid the glow of NFL games every Sunday and Thursday, or head upstairs and dance to live salsa and reggae music.
Though Cactus Rose Restaurant & Tequila Bar is only a teenager in dog years, owners Maria and Katerina Pertesis are no strangers to the restaurant business with more than 40 years experience. The upscale eatery’s cuisine is best summed up as contemporary Southwestern, thanks to Executive Chef Norberto Lucero’s skillful incorporation of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern flavors.
A Mexican native, Lucero has fun with his food. One peek at the menu reveals the usual aspects of Latin cuisine: fish tacos, paella dotted with prawns, little-neck clams, mussels, and black-iron skillet fajitas—sizzling with caramelized onions and bell peppers. Yet, for every expected entree, Lucero offers a surprise in the form of baby back ribs in an orange barbecue glaze, skirt steak with an orange chipotle mojo, and tequila chicken—a free-range, chicken stuffed with chorizo and manchego cheese. Like the chicken, all of Lucero’s meats are quality; he serves only wild-caught organic seafood, grass-fed beef, and free-range chicken.
While the menu impresses, it’s only half of Cactus Rose’s appeal. The tequila bar is also a contender, as it’s stocked with 50 varieties of tequila, and bartenders dispense freshly concocted margaritas mulled from fresh squeezed lime juice and fruits. Cactus Rose delivers an inviting atmosphere with rustic wood furnishings and cowhide chairs surrounded by red, orange, and a yellow hand-carved stained-glass mosaic. A warm large outdoor fireplace on the patio keeps patrons toasty during the winter months, and an outdoor patio—bumping with live music—convinces them to temporarily forget their fear of birds’ nests and dine al fresco during the summer.
Established by a mother, four brothers, and a wealth of culinary cunning, Cuatro Hermanos Luncheria mingles a multitude of menu items from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and more. Begin a dinner dissertation with a delectable thesis of maduros con crema, a helping of fried sweet plantains sidled by crema fresco ($4.95), or calamari adorned with house-made dipping sauce ($8.95). Entrees pack taste-bud-pleasing flavor combinations, such as the savory and sweet notes of the South American arepas, which stuff cheeses, meats, and other trimmings into saccharine sleeping bags of corn cake ($3.50–$7.95). Tacos come in authentic ($6.95) or el gringo ($7.25) varietals and can be dressed in a multitude of meaty frocks, and the lomo saltado’s stir-fry of sirloin, tomato, and onions invokes images of Peru more vividly than a pair of dinner-appropriate binoculars ($10.95).