A +/- Look at NYC Food

Hell’s Kitchen

hellskitchenAfter living in L.A. for two years, I'm usually the first to complain that the Mexican food sucks in NYC.  But I love Hell's Kitchen.  I can't tell you what a great meal we had at this restaurant.  It doesn't stop me from saying Mexican Food in NYC sucks, but truthfully to call this place Mexican is sort of a disservice.  First of all it costs more then $6 (all you should ever have to spend for authentic, and delicious Mexican food).  And there are no burritos to be found on this menu… But what you do get is Mexican flavors infused with a New York chef sensibility in a hip, pretty romantic (and by that I mean dimly lit) Hell's Kitchen wrapping.

What we ate and the +/-, after the jump


  • Sweet Plantain Gorditas w/ Goat Cheese & Salsa Verde $8.
  • Tamarind Marinated Filet Mignon Chalupa with Grilled Tomatillo & Guajillo Sauce $11

First off, they bring you a little snack after you order, so that second appetizer might not be necessary.  Needless to say, both appetizers were delicious, so we weren't too disappointed with our decision.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Rack of Lamb with Poblano Rice, Cactus Salad & Blueberry Mole $23

I find it hard to NOT order Rack of Lamb when it's on a menu, and this one did not disappoint.  I love mole, and this mole was delicious… if you don't mind your mole having a blueberry aftertaste (which I didn't).

  • Poached Artichoke Quesadilla with Idiazabel Cheese, Roasted Sweet Corn Poblano Crema $9

When my wife ordered this, I almost felt out of my chair in disbelief.  Seemed so boring, compared to a lot of the other items on the menu- but it really was unbelievable.  I'm pretty sure Idiazabel is Spanish for Crack.  I don't know what exactly made it so, but it really was delicious, and far from boring.  Be careful though… low expecations might have been the key to the dish's success (as is so often the case…)


  • Watermelon Wajito:  Light Rum, Fresh Watermelon, Lime Juice & Fresh Mint  $9

I like watermelon, and I love Mojitos.  Sort of a no brainer.

The +

  • You gotta like Mexican flavors and spicy-ness.  The dishes might be New York'ified, but the spices definetely are not.
  • You like hopping kind of places with a young energy.
  • I think it's a perfect place for two, but apparently a party of 10 could enjoy it as well.  Just don't expect it to be fast [

The –

  • You don't like Mexican flavors! (or can't stand spicy-ness).
  • It's not cheap, quiet, or spacious.  (Read: It's expensive, noisy, and cramped)
  • You expect expensive food, and innovative cuisine to come with impeccable service and atmosphere.  Don't let the food or price fool you, this is casual dining- and the service may not be entirely gracious. 
  • You are looking for cheap and/or authentic Mexican food.  There are plenty of other places people could recommend for that authentic tamale, enchilada, or burrito.  This is in a different class. [chowhound]  
  • If pretentious hosts or excessive waiting ruins a meal for you, then steer clear… Reservations are only taken for 5-7pm (pre-theater) so you may have to wait in their cramped bar area.  [citysearch review]

November 10, 2005 - Posted by | Food: Mexican (New), Location: Hell's Kitchen, Price: Expensive, Price: Moderate

1 Comment »

  1. My friend, you are clueless on Mexican food. I seriously recommend a trip to Mexico, esp. to Puebla, Oaxaca, and Yucatan.

    Oh, and by the way, burritos DO NOT EXIST in Mexico.

    Try asking for one in Mexico (esp. in central Mexico), and see what you get.

    A somewhat offended Mexican foodie.

    Comment by J B | June 22, 2006 | Reply

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