Like Los Angeles, New York is hardly a slouch of a city when it comes to amazing restaurants. But for Angelenos visiting the east coast, after the wealth of stellar Mexican eateries in L.A., choosing south of the border cuisine in the Big Apple can sometimes feel like the last selection on a “where to dine” list.
But surprise: during a recent east coast visit, La Gringa Bar and Grill changed our minds, about a lot of things. Not only about choosing Mexican cuisine, but about dining outside of Manhattan.
Located in unassuming Rego Park, Queens – a short subway jaunt from the heart of NYC and adjacent to trendier Astoria, La Gringa Bar and Grill is a revelation. Introduced to the venue by a local friend, the spot afforded one delicious surprise after another: starting with an Elote appetizer. Street corn has always been a favorite, and here, it’s served with the corn already cut off the cob, with cotija cheese and Mexican crema mixed in, attractively filling a large glass rimmed with red chili powder. Served with a wedge of lime and a sprinkling of cilantro, we could’ve had ten of these, but then we wouldn’t have been able to eat the perfectly crisp fish tacos, or the beautifully balanced poblano relleno, filled with shrimp and topped with fresh avocado. Served with black beans and well-seasoned rice, the juicy carnitas were a hit with the carnivores in our group, as was a thick, smoky chicken mole.
We were impressed with the stylish food presentation, the from-scratch flavors, and the fresh produce.
Drinks from the bar were also great – with an ample selection of mezcal and tequila, and a variety of house special margaritas, there were plenty of choices worth celebrating. Dessert? We had caramel flan that was letter perfect, but better still were the round churro balls – think donut holes in style – with chocolate dipping sauce.
The restaurant also offers catering and party room rentals.
La Gringa Bar and Grill is located at 63-354 Woodhaven in Rego Park. For more information visit www.lagringagrill.com