El Cantinero: 86 University Place. New York, NY

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Gabriel had been telling me about El Cantinero for a while because he thinks it’s great Mexican food, reasonably priced, and (most importantly for him) they don’t charge extra for chips and salsa. When we got there, we were initially told they wouldn’t seat us until all 4 of us arrived, but just a few minutes later the host changed his mind and led us to a great table towards the back. We’d specifically asked for a quiet-ish spot and he gave us a large, round table that was kind of tucked away. Perfect.

Chips and salsa were brought out right away and drink orders were taken. Our friends arrived just a few minutes later and the waiter came back to take their drink orders and to bring us water and menus. So far so good. At that point I asked for an order of guacamole for the table. (request #1)

He came back about 5 minutes later to take our orders and check to see how our drinks were. So far, so good. I asked if the guac was coming out and he said it was on it’s way. (request #2)

Our meals were brought over and everything looked great (except for Gabriel’s order which didn’t include the stuffed pepper he’d ordered, but ok- he was hungry and happy with what came instead).

I found it odd that our entrees arrived and our app still hadn’t so I made that known by asking the waiter about our guac. (request #3) He apologized and asked if we still wanted it.

We ate about 3/4 of our entrees. The guac came out! Hooray! It was quite good even though we were already filling up and slowing down. Better late than never. Kind of. I was not impressed with the service at all. The waiter hardly checked on us at all and the timing of the guac’s arrival was really pretty pathetic. Maybe they had to go harvest the avocados. My chicken mole was good- though not the best I’ve had. Overall, the meal was so-so. My frozen strawberry margarita was delish though!

When our bill came, I honestly thought there was a mistake. 4 of us, one app, a few drinks and 4 entrees came out to well over $120. For pretty typical Mexican food I thought that was really too high but oh well, at least we had plenty of time to catch up with great friends!

Would I go back again? Um, no. Doubtful. Right near me is my fav Mexican, Maz Mexcal.

https://bigforkinmouth.wordpress.com/?s=mezcal

Next time I have a Mexican craving, that’s most likely where I will go.

 

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