Since it was a nice day, we decided to sit outside in the patio. I was amazed at how big the restaurant was from the front to the end. There were like 30 tables in the front, then a bar, and leads out to a large backyard seating section. Guess Wednesday is a slow day for them because there were only a couple of people in the front and at the back.
Our waitress was very friendly and gave us recommendations on the daily special, which happened to be fried oyster w/ guac for appetizers and a stuffed sole with a bunch of goodies that I didn't really catch. They have a lot of tequilas and drinks that one table ordered a pitcher of. A lot of people come here to sip some wine and take in the lovely atmosphere.
Hubby really liked how they decorated their patio space to reflect a Mexican-style fresco, with yellow painted cement walls, greenery and vibrant colors that lit up the place. Plus the fence overlooks a local church that's designed in a Mexican style architecture, so the entire place literally looks as if we're in Mexico.
Since we were browsing their menu at home already, we ordered right away (also cuz we were both pretty hungry). Service was expedient. As we waited for our food, we munched on a lovely blue and red chips with salsa and sipped some authentic iced tea (with real lemony flavor!)
I really liked their chips because its colors matched the decor. It was crunch but not so much so that you'll chip your teeth. The salsa was a little drippy, so you can't hold up much on the chip.
Our guacamole came almost instantly. They are well-staffed but I guess there weren't a lot of people the day that we came.
|Hand-hacked Hass Guacamole|
The hand-hacked hass guac was really, really fresh. Loaded with real avocados that were ripe and fresh for the season. We scooped up chunks of it and munched happily while we waited for the rest of our menu.
Our dishes came in the most elegant manner I've seen Mexican food presented (so far at least). My peekytoe crab with pablanos, roasted corn, portobellow mushroom, asparagus and cheese on a whole wheat tortilla was fabulously presented, with sides of guac, sour cream and salsa.
I took a bite of his shrimp - well marinated and juicy. Worked really well with the tomatillo and mango salsa. The lemon aioli drizzled on top gave a nice twang to the roasted veggies.
Take another inside peek at my quesadilla:
The cheese was really stringy - the real pull-apart mozzarella cheese I used to see on pizzas.
My quesadilla was too big, so Hubby helped me finish half of it. We managed to chow down on our guac with the chips from the first found as well as the second. So good. I think the waitress was surprised at how we managed to taco the entire plate of chips. I guess we were just too busy enjoying the fresh air and looking at the lovely corn crusted calamari and empanadas served at the table next to us.
By now the restuarant was filling up a bit more with patrons. They have rotating artists come and perform, which really creates a nice atmosphere. Their inside seating is a little dark but creates a nice ambiance for dates.
Tab came out to be $60. Pretty decent for a lovely meal with excellent service. Everyone was super friendly, which Hubby knows is rare to see in the city. I think I could be a chirpy waitress too but would probably get sick after serving 100 people a day.
Will definitely come back again. Next time maybe try their queso fundido (blue crab chipotle spinach dip), roasted plaintain empanada and their crab salad.
It's no wonder they boast as the best Mexican joint in Astoria - I'd agree!
**** (4/5 stars)
22-36 31st Street Astoria, NY 11105