El Parador Cafe Was A Lovely Mexican Find

courtesy of elparadorcafe.com

It was lovely finding a Mexican restaurant that wasn’t just your typical tacos and burritos. El Parador Café is a hidden secret in New York City all the way on the east side. I don’t know why I say it’s hidden, it’s not, it was just hidden to me till I found it.

They claim the be the oldest existing Mexican restaurant in New York City and after reviewing their gorgeous menu of bouillabaisse (Mexican restaurants have bouillabaisse?), camarones, chorizo, lobster salad and baby back ribs I had to try it out.

My date and I walked it at noon and which was right when they opened it seemed, and were followed by two more couples. The space is a good size and we were seated in cozy booths. The art and décor was a mixture of classic Mexico and modern art, it was very nice. Our waiter approached us right away and was nice enough to let me try the pisco liquor since I had never had it before and was having trouble deciding what cocktail to get. Pisco wasn’t my cup of tea so I went with a caipirinha which was smooth and refreshing. You have to be careful with caipirinhas though, because although they don’t taste it, there is a large amount of alcohol in there.

The waiter brought us free chips and warm salsa to start with. I had never had warm salsa before and I must say, it was like a delicious stew. I could have thrown some ground meat it there and it would have made a fabulous chili.

Our appetizer came, a plate of raw oysters, which I quite enjoyed, but my date didn’t. However, I think there was something wrong with his tastebuds that day. They were fresh and tasted like the sea, yummy!

For my entrée I chose the roasted suckling pig. I was slight disappointed because I wanted more crunchy skin, but was delighted to see that a small cup of the roasting juices were served with the dish. I wish they would bottle and sell that stuff. Savory and immensely full of flavorful, I could do shots of it. My pork was beautifully cooked and tasted very good. It came with maduros, but I’ve never had maduros this way before. Usually at Mexican restaurants, they’re just soft, which I don’t mind, but at El Parador, the outside was slightly crusted and the inside was soft. It was a pleasant surprise. The dish also came with rice and scallions, which were cooked just right.

My date went for the paella, which I was very excited about because I LOVE paella. It was a slight disappointment though. I like paellas with a crusty bottom, I think because somewhere along the line it was ingrained in my head that this is what a proper paella is suppose to be. This one didn’t have a crusty bottom. The seafood was also slightly overcooked, but these discrepancies didn’t bother us too much only because the flavor was there. Eat bite was well seasoned so we were still happy campers.

I’ll be going back to El Parador. Actually I’ll be going back there this weekend. There were a few more things I’d love to taste.

7.5 out of 10

-Joyce Huang

325 E 34th St

New York, NY 10016

(347) 205-8170
El Parador Cafe on Urbanspoon

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