In NYC, there are few neighborhoods that are called “Little ~~~” such as Little Italy, Little Tokyo, Little India, etc. And, most likely, there are more than one spot that have dense population of a particular nationality nowadays. For example, you can find Little Mexico in Washington Heights, Manhattan, and also in Jackson Heights, Queens. We checked out one of the popular Mexican restaurant in Washington Heights, Las Palmas.
The interesting story behind them is that they used to be a bodega with a small kitchen until a few years ago. When people kept coming back for food, instead of their merchandise, they decided to go full-on restaurant. Smart move. Now they are one of the very popular Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. Inside is small but not too small. Nice earthy colored wall and tile, and wooden ceiling. Simple decor with minimum artworks on the wall.
I liked the three painted plates, with large cactus in all of them. Very cute, and I like the hand-made feel to it, making this place extra cozy.
When we entered, we were seated right away. The waitress seemed nice and accommodating. The most noticeable feature inside this restaurant was the bar. It had clay roof tiles, all the glasses and bottles organized, with a large flower arrangement. It was really pretty.
Then, I noticed something else on the side of the bar. It was a Juke Box of 21st century! I have never seen anything like that anywhere else, it was quite interesting. You can either put cash or credit card, and choose the song of your choice. Pretty cool.
They brought out complimentary chips and spicy sauces as soon as we sat down.
They are not “chips and salsa” as the sauce does not contain any solid thing like diced tomato. They were more watery consistency, and were really spicy!!! You would want to have a glass of water in your hand before you dig in, unless you have high tolerance of spiciness. In a way, it was good that the sauces were more watery, so that you are not getting thick slab of the sauce on your chips. Just a little dip, and getting excess off the chips, and they were still quite spicy. The chips are definitely home made, felt a bit thicker and harder than some other chips I have tried at other places. It was still pretty good.
We ordered their tacos, which are $9 for three, and you can mix and match what kind of tacos you want. Which is really great, because you can try three different flavors, instead of getting three of the same kind. I ordered Bistetc, Carne Enchilada, and Chorizo tacos. When they came out, it was nice portion and smelled really good!
Each one had two tortillas, ensuring they won’t break with sauce or anything else while you are eating. The chorizo, the Mexican Sausage, was the one I was most excited about. However, surprisingly it was my least favorite. They were a bit too burned, I tasted the charred chorizo with the first bite. If it wasn’t for that, I am sure it would have been nice, but most of the chorizo had that burned flavor to it, and a bit too dry because of it.
The Carne Enchilada, the Spicy Pork, was ok. It didn’t have much of the spiciness that I was anticipating. It had really nice flavor, just not spicy. I still enjoyed it regardless, the meat was tender and veggies were fresh. The cilantro added extra refreshing flavor.
Then the Bistec, the Steak, the winner of all the tacos (for me). The steak was pretty good, nice seasoning, tender meat and juicy. Freshly cooked meat combined with fresh veggies, and warm, soft tortillas, it was tasty! And, thinking that three tacos might not be enough to fill me up, I was completely wrong. They were very filling and satisfying.
My husband ordered Chorizo, Al Pastor, and Carnitas.
Al Pastor, the Marinated Roast Pork was the best, most flavorful, and favorite of the three tacos. Carnitas, the Roasted Pork, was good, but not as flavorful compared to the marinated roast pork.
Thinking that we will need more than just three tacos each, we also had ordered Camarones a la Mexicana ($14) at the beginning. Now that we know how satisfying these tacos are, we probably will not do that in the future. Regardless, it came to our small table. And it was pretty huge portion… It came with rice, beans, and three soft, warm tortillas. It doesn’t look like it on the photo, but the shape of the plates that has the shrimp and the rice & beans are the same oval shape.
I liked how the tortillas came in this cute, colorful, handmade basket. It also kept them warm while we were eating the tacos.
The shrimps were really plump and flavorful, and the sauce/marinade were spicy! The rice and beans were good, comforting, and brought down the spiciness of the shrimp a bit. Put them in a warm tortilla, or eat them as is, either way, it was very tasty, I enjoyed it a lot. The price is much higher than three tacos, but you do get more food.
Everything was fresh, tasty, and the staff were very nice. They spoke a little English, but they communicate with you better if you speak to them in Spanish. The service was not fast, but we were not in a hurry so that was not any issue to us. We got there after the lunch hour rush, so when we arrived, it was almost full. About the time we finished our food and leaving, it was almost empty. I am sure they get quite packed everyday for lunch and dinner, they have good amount of menu offerings, at good price, as well as nice, polite service.
One thing I want to mention, it seems like their Burritos are not very popular here (from reading some reviews), but my friend from Mexico told me in the past that they don’t eat Burrito in Mexico, so Burrito is not really an authentic Mexican dish as we think it is? Also, most of the people who complains about their food or authenticity of it are from California. I mean… I love California and the people, but they have to realize that the Mexican food in California is the food that caters to the Californians. I think the only people who can question or complain about their authenticity are other fellow Mexicans or people who live/have lived in Mexico.
Las Palmas Restaurant – 3891 Broadway, New York, NY 10032