NYC Restaurants

El Paso
64 East 97th Street
New York, NY, 10029
(212) 996-1739 Map

Cuisine: Mexican

Menu:   View the Menu

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Cititour Review:
You know a restaurant is doing something right when it impresses one of the top students at the Culinary Institute of America, the nation's premier cooking school. But the restaurant in question isn't Daniel or Bouley, it's El Paso, an unprepossessing Mexican eatery on East 97th Street that is becoming a favorite of everyone from nearby Mount Sinai interns to tony Park Avenue residents.

Small and inviting, with an open kitchen, El Paso serves up some of the most authentic, flavorful Mexican food in the city. That quest for authenticity is even reflected in the drinks; there are no tacky frozen margaritas here, but there is excellent sangria and homemade lemonade.


The must-have starter is the wonderful guacamole; each batch is prepared fresh and to your specifications. (And even if you have a fairly tame palate, go for the spicy preparation). Other fine ways to begin the meal include splitting the generous chicken quesadilla, which is a nice balance of meat and cheese, or enjoying an individual soft taco (a downright bargain at $2).


A trio (or if you prefer a quintet) of enchiladas -- filled with your choice of chicken, beef or cheese -- are simply exemplary, given an extra bit of fire by the house's red or green sauce (both wonderful) and a topping of queso fundido. Carnviores will be pleased by the carne asada, a strip of flavorful if not exactly tender steak, that is accompanied by freshly-made tortillas, along with the house's first-rate Mexican rice and beans. A simple dish of charcoal-baked chicken is also a fine option. Best of all, all these dishes cost under $10. (To spend more that, you need to sample the house's seafood dishes, including shrimp in garlic sauce and fried red snapper.)


Great food and great prices -- you'll be impressed too.

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: East 90s & Up


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