New York City is now home to an incredible variety of Mexican establishments, from small taqueria shops to full-fledged restaurants, offering regional food from Yucatán to Sinaloa, as well as high-end places where exciting culinary inventions are being produced. Another Michelin flare, the Oxomoco wood oven, produces fantastic fish, barbecue and “chorizo” tacos made with beetroot, not to mention one of the best steaks we've ever eaten inside or outside of restaurants specializing in meat. We've always liked their frozen drinks (despite the cold season, the apple cider and apricot and blueberry options are perfect for the season) and there are also many other cocktails, wines and beers available. The owners of Bar Henry expanded to Queens with this Mexican restaurant with capacity for 40 people, specializing in regional cuisine from Cintalapa, Chiapas.
The brothers Cosme and Luis Aguilar pay homage to their late mother with traditional dishes, such as mole de Pollo and the Cochinito Chiapaneco (pork ribs marinated with guajillo), which are based on their recipes. The spot painted white leads to a garden in the back. Inside the bustling graffiti room that clings to the sand of its 80s incarnation, the waiters of Alcatraz stalk tacos from the order counter at a speed that would impress an athletic coach. Alex Stupak tacos are simple and are served on paper plates with side dishes that come in takeaway containers.
Tortillas made with Indiana corn that are nixtamalized (the kernels are cooked in lime water and peeled) and pressed at home every day are thin and elastic, with a delicate sweetness of corn. This Cosme spin-off is more informal than the big hit of Flatiron, with a smaller but delicious menu. Start with guacamole and chilaquiles, add a couple of shrimp, eggplant or suadero tacos, dive into the selection of three sauces and you've prepared a feast. Imbued with Mexico City's all-day restaurants, the 60-seat space features elegant black and oak furniture, a bar with white terrazzo tiles and green vegetation that covers the walls.
The team behind Colonie goes from American farmhouse cuisine to regional Mexican cuisine with this 60-person canteen in Dumbo. The team prepares market-driven south of the border dishes, reinforced with ingredients prepared from scratch, such as homemade sausage and hand-pressed tortillas made with traditional corn. Customers come to Oxomoco at Greenpoint for its modern aesthetic, a huge skylight, a cascade of hanging plants and a decorative bar, but it's Oxomoco's exclusive menu offerings that keep them coming back time and time again. This Michelin star restaurant, specializing in various regional cuisines from all over Mexico, is perhaps best known for its tacos, which can be filled with all kinds of dishes, from beetroot sausage to soft-shell crab and lamb barbecue.
However, make sure you don't overlook their other colorful offerings, such as trout aguachile and shrimp ceviche toast, all made in their signature wood-burning oven. With its elegant interior and intense pink awning, Ruta Oaxaca del Astoria may take a playful approach to its dining experience, but its authentic Oaxacan food is, without a doubt, delicious. The restaurant is especially known for its drinks (its offer of 2-for-1 brunch cocktails is unbeatable) and for spreading its dishes with delicious mole. Be sure to try their shrimp side dishes, which are served in half a sliced pineapple, as well as their chicken fritters.
Unlike some of the fanciest restaurants in Manhattan, the serving sizes here are generous and you're sure to leave satisfied. The Mexican Restaurants of New York City project, created by a group of Latino historians from Stony Brook University (SUNY), is a website that narrates and maps the history of Mexican food in the Big Apple from 1930 to the present. The variety of Mexican food and food manufacturers in New York is not a characteristic of the city that is taken for granted or considered inevitable, but rather is recognized as a long historical process of migration, entrepreneurship, exploitation and innovation, all linked. It lagged behind other cities such as Chicago, San Antonio or Los Angeles, which had a larger population of Mexican origin and a longer history of Mexican restaurants.
Although Mexican food took a while to spread in New York, the city had long been home to Latino communities. Recently, Álvarez traced the history of the Poblana community of New York in an essay for Eater, aptly titled “Anyone who says that Mexican food in New York stinks hasn't visited Puebla York.”. This false equivalence between “authenticity” and “cheapness” can then affect Mexican food workers as well. On the other side of the outlying districts, Álvarez has many favorite Mexican spots, but he likes to recommend La Morada, a popular Oaxacan restaurant (which, incidentally, is another growing Mexican community in New York City) in the South Bronx, which is rapidly gentrified.
As he explained to Gothamist and on The Brian Lehrer Show on Thursday, most Mexicans in New York are from Puebla, a state in south-central Mexico, hence the nickname “Puebla York”. Some restaurants that offer regional and exclusive Mexican cuisine, such as Rosa Mexicano and Cinco de Mayo (owned by designer and chef Josefina Howard, born in Cuba and raised in Spain) and Zarela (owned by Zarela Martínez, a Mexican immigrant catering company and chef) opened their doors with fanfare in the late 1980s and began educating diners on what distinguished Jalisco cuisine from Oaxaca and Veracruz. However, accessing certain Mexican foods or ingredients was still a bit difficult at this time. The Mexican food scene in Los Angeles is a force in and of itself, and you can try it right here in New York, thanks to Lupe's East L.
Even Adam Platt, food critic for New York Magazine, recently prefaced his recurring video series, in which he and his teenage daughter exchange their respective generational opinions on classic food, saying: “I don't think New York has good Mexican food. While the United States census counted 23,761 Mexican New Yorkers in 1980, there were 61,722 in 1990, making Mexicans the fastest-growing Latino population in the five counties. As small immigrant-owned food businesses, such as taco trucks, street carts, and taqueria, became more prevalent, this solidified consumers' ideas that Mexican food should be naturally low in price. Like Chinese food, Mexican food hasn't been able to escape the idea that it must be cheap to be authentic.