I love Mexican food. Let me clarify, I love authentic Mexican food. And when there’s a place that’s been open since 1959, as the oldest Mexican restaurant in New York City, I need to check it out.
Upon entering, you’re set in a cozy and inviting space, dimly lit, with lots of fantastic lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
Before you know it, you’re brought a bowl of tortilla chips and their house salsa. I do appreciate a place that will give you chips to start, as opposed to charging you for them from the menu. Now, their salsa is unique, not vegetarian, it’s made with a beef stock, and tastes similar to pasta sauce. I wasn’t a big fan of it, so asked if they had a classic vegetarian salsa instead and they brought one right out. I’d recommend asking for this one, it had a little kick of spice, fresh, and great cilantro flavor.
Ok, so, the service is slightly wonky there, not a whole lot of communication going on during the experience, but, everything else pretty much makes up for it. To drink, of course, I had a classic margarita, but replaced the regular tequila with a jalapeño tequila. It was great.
Then, I ordered their Baja California Fish Tacos, beer battered and fried, with fresh slaw and served with a chunky avocado and cilantro salsa. These were some tasty fish tacos. The fish was tender, but coated in a salty, beer flavored crispy batter, giving it a great and delicious contrast. The avocado salsa was something new to me, but totally great. It has a tiny bit of spice to it, fresh, and had a nice citrusy flavor. The raw, crunchy slaw on the tacos also added some great contrast and texture along with the soft tortillas. On the side, you’re also served rice and beans, which both had great flavor. And not your run-of-the-mill re-fried beans, real whole beans, real flavors, real good.
Name: El Parador Cafe
Location: 325 East 34th Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes! The food was great and I really liked the ambiance.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Ole!