review

Rosa Mexicano

New York City restaurant week provides diners with a way to explore restaurants and enjoy multiple courses at a reasonable rate. Dinners at participating restaurants are $42 a person and lunches are $29 a person.

My mom is my favorite fellow foodie and we decided to check out what restaurant week had to offer at Rosa Mexicano, a Mexican restaurant with multiple locations throughout the city and the country. We had originally attempted to eat there a few weeks prior, but it was a 45 minute wait for two people. We figured it must be good.

The restaurant week deal at Rosa Mexicano offered patrons three courses – an appetizer, an entree and a desert. My mom ordered the guacamole en molcajete. According to Rosa Mexicano, they have been “preparing freshly made guacamole with avocado, jalapeño, tomato, onion and cilantro” since 1984. It comes served with warm tortilla chips and salsa, as well.

Numerous people have told me the guacamole is prepared table-side and it’s delicious. Ours wasn’t and we found it to be severely lacking in flavor. We added the salsa and asked for salt and pepper to give it more pizzaz. The salsa was made with green tomatoes which weren’t as flavorful as red tomatoes, but it had a nice chunkiness. Both the guacamole and salsa were decent on their own, but much better when combined. Honestly, it was a disappointing start.

I chose the empanadas de pollo con chorizo as my appetizer, which were corn masa empanadas stuffed with shredded chicken, Mexican chorizo and Menonita cheese. It came served with mestiza crema, as well. These empanadas were much better than the guacamole because they were loaded with flavor. The meat was tender and the empanadas weren’t too fried, which I really liked. The crema was spicy and added a nice extra element to the dish.

We both chose the tampiqueña de carne asada as our entree. This dish was grilled skirt steak marinated in guajillo chile and tequila with rajas con crema, guacamole and a Chihuahua cheese enchilada topped with a roasted chipotle tomato sauce. It also came with a side of rice and pureed black beans. I normally don’t eat the rice and beans, but these were ridiculously good. They were literally just black beans and I don’t know what they did, but I couldn’t stop eating them. The steak was also good and came out rare like we requested, and I liked topping it with the peppers and guacamole. When I pictured this dish in my head, I thought it would be layered because I saw enchilada in it. The enchilada was actually its own entity on the side and it was kind of awkward. It was’t that good because the sauce on top was weird, and I don’t think it was needed in the dish.

To end our meal, we both ordered the tres leches cake, a Mexican three milk cake with toasted coconut and fresh berries. This was not tres leches. I’ve had tres leches before and this cake was a bastardization of it. It was literally pound cake with milk. Tres leches normally comes with dulce de leche caramel and that was completely omitted from it. I love dessert but I didn’t even eat this.

Instead of eating my dessert calories, I decided to drink them with a lime margarita, which was at least better than the cake. The margarita wasn’t too sweet or too strong – it was the perfect combination where you could enjoy it without a sugary taste in your mouth or wincing because it tastes like straight tequila.

I left Rosa Mexicano pretty disappointed, but I think it was just the restaurant week experience. I couldn’t help but wonder if they made their food cheaper to fit the fixed price so they wouldn’t lose money by participating. I’ve heard so many great things about the restaurant that I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it again, but I wouldn’t order anything I got during restaurant week, except for the empanada and rice with beans.

Address: 41 Murray St, New York, NY 10007 (this is their Tribeca location but they have multiple locations around the city and country)

Phone number: 212-849-2885

Price: $$ Expensive.

Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sat-Sun 11 AM-11 PM

Service: Our server was decent and friendly.

Atmosphere: Colorful, young and fun.

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