Chinese tex-mex ‘strategery.’

So I know you’re curious – have I ever eaten at one of those Chinese-run tex-mex places anywhere in the city? Well, yes, I have, the one on Varick at Houston, mostly. I’m not afraid to admit it. What might shock you, though, is that I think they’re worthwhile – to a very small point.

First of all, avoid the beans. Like the effing plague, folks. They’re undercooked-yet-mushy and I can only describe them as “slithery.” Ick, ick, ick. Not that most of the other ingredients are high quality (particularly the chorizo, which claims to be “ground sausage” but looks more like mystery meat). Even if you’re brave/starving and want to try something I don’t recommend, please avoid the beans.

Also, I think their lunch combos are a scam. After you remove the icky beans, the combos consist of varying combinations of meat, lettuce/tomato or peppers/onions, some guacamole that could best be described as “preserved,” and a bunch of cheese thrown on top of rice and melted in a steam-cooker. Oh yeah, you get a free soda, too, and I’m sure that’s the most expensive wholesale ingredient in the $5 package.

Burritos aren’t much better – they generally use 12” tortillas from a package, wrapping from one to all of the above ingredients in the burrito, and you don’t even get a free soda.

What’s to like? Well…basically just the fresh 8” tortillas. They’re really, really good – watch the cooks take a ball of dough, squish it in some kind of press contraption, then throw it on the griddle to brown.

I know the thought of just tortillas isn’t enough to inspire a visit, so I’d recommend the quesadillas. With the included huge glop of melted jack cheese (and, if you want chicken, which is better than the steak by a long shot, or jalepenos), it might remind you of something you attempted to cook in the microwave as a kid, or maybe as an inebriated college student, except with non-stale tortillas. In fact, it’s probably too much cheese, as the grease in the bottom of the container will demonstrate. For under three bucks, though, you could wipe some off. Tacos, too, use the fresh tortillas.

Yes, the food is mostly bad. But, barring a trip to the tortilla factory, where are you going to get tortillas fresher than this? Just don’t ever order the beans.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Chinese tex-mex ‘strategery.’

  1. the tortilla’s are probably the weakest link in this entire quasi-chain of places.. more like pancakes than true tortillas.. they’re flour.. that should end the entire debate..that said, they make a decent quesadilla.. i enjoy the chicken fajitas with guacamole every now and again, and i do enjoy the black beans.. their fresh salsa adds a nice little zip, and the burrito’s, while huge, can fill an urge..mexican food is hard to find in nyc.. these places fill a different kind of craving.. if it’s a true taqueria you’re looking for, check out Paquito’s or the hugely popular deli/taco stand on 10th ave in the 40’s.. rumor has it that la esquina has a semi-respectable taco on the street level as well..

  2. Anonymous

    Forget about the subject of the review for a moment or two and focus on the writing style. This particular review had me laughing so hard I was almost in tears. My imagination was on full throttle in a feeble attempt to conjure up what in the dickens happens while these questionable menu items are being “cooked” and prepped for sale. One shudders at the thought of where this FINE establishment procures its “Mystery Meats” and other high-caliber ingredients. May I now order an extra-helping of incisive humor please?

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