Chancing Amanecer.

Continuing my search for a great and decently priced restaurant in the L.E.S., I and my roommate, along with another friend, went to El Nuevo Amanecer, at the corner of Stanton and Essex.  Actually, the original idea was to go to El Sombrero, but I convinced the gang to try Amanecer, which I’d heard somewhere was better.  Suffice to say that I am unable to summon much enthusiasm.

I ordered chicken enchiladas ($8), which arrived first under a layer of jack-like cheese – once this was removed, the actual chicken in the actual corn tortillas was quite nice – stewed with some kind of reddish sauce.  The beans adjoining the bright orange rice were much more Dominican than Mexican, but were well-cooked.  The dollop of guac was about the quality of the average Chinese-Mexican place.

My friend ordered a chimichanga ($8), which he described as “not as good as El Sombrero.”   He also complained about the percentage of white meat being lower than he’d have liked.  My roommate, having previously that day gorged himself on Taco Bell (what the…?), ordered the beef soup, which seemed like it could have come out of a Campbell’s can.  For $5, I again ask, “what the…?”

The real money was made for the restaurant in the margarita department – a standard-sized tumbler-full of cheap tequila and frozen stuff was $7.  I think they served it from a slushee machine, even.  Order yours “to go” and get it in a plastic cup, avec straw and classy brown bag.  Just the thing for a hot summer night, so long as the police don’t get wise.  Also, one was enough to get me a bit tipsy, so I guess they were cost-effective to a certain extent.

I suppose the prices weren’t awful, but there are better options for the price range, to be sure.  And the service was really surly, if that sort of thing bothers you.  The food wasn’t really that much different than the more-popular Sombrero, I thought, and it’s a far cry from what I’d consider “good” Mexican.  If you want a ‘rita before a show, though, I suppose you could do worse.

Speaking of shows, Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals played a solo acoustic set at Tonic, and it was very good indeed.

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