CHELSEA 182 8th Avenue, New York, NY
This afternoon, around lunchtime, my co-worker and I had a hankering for Mexican. We considered Caliente Cab, or another cookie cutter Mexican joint around the corner, but received a recommendation to head up to this little spot in the heart of Chelsea. We had no problem walking from Houston up to 19th as the sun was shining on this perfect spring day. Walking in, the contemporary decor and artisan tequilas on the wall suggested that this was more than a “tacos, fajitas, and burritos” place.
Out came the waiter with homemade tortilla chips, deep orange in color, and a smooth salsa that tasted of tomato and roasted red pepper with a hint of ancho chile. The food menu was filled with about 15 or so authentic Mexican dishes, each with a contemporary treatment- the drink menu had the same feel.
We started with a couple of house Margarita’s on the rocks- perfectly mixed with a frothy finish, not too sweet, and made with high quality silver Tequila. For the meal, I ordered the Carnitas; braised Niman Ranch natural pork, on three mini ancho tortillas (a bit dry), with guacamole, and pickled red onion. The pork was crisp and I enjoyed the flavor of the pickled red onion with the house-made guacamole. Washing it down with the delicious Margarita helped too.
Overall, nothing stands out too much here, but the fresh, lighter approach to Mexican was a nice change of pace for me. Service was great, food was good, and Margaritas were delicious. If you’re in the area, sit out on the porch in the sun and enjoy the weather on “Chelsea’s Main St.”