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Gabriela's

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Gabriela's

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Address: 688 Columbus Ave (at 93rd St)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10025
Phone: (212) 961-9600
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: Mexican
2nd Cuisine: Family Friendly
Area: West 90s & Up
Entree Price: $15-20


Review:

Hanging around with a group of people whose tastebuds developed in New Mexico, I have gained higher standards for Mexican food in this city. So when I heard that Upper West Side favorite Gabriela’s had recently reopened, in a large, airy space on Columbus Avenue and 93rd Street, I got the gang together – plus a few Easterners – for a Sunday brunch taste test. And, yes, the restaurant passed with flying colors. Weekend brunchers have two options. You can order from the special menu, where just $11.95 buys an entrée – such as tasty huevos rancheros or truly excellent banana pancakes – served with a piece of corn bread, a small fruit salad, and a beverage (including an eight-ounce frozen margarita). Or you can, as most of our party did, make your selections from the more extensive regular menu. While I quaffed my Diet Coke, others began the feast with a colorful pomegranate margarita on the rocks. And naturally, we had to order some guacamole to accompany the warm complimentary chips and two types of first-rate salsa. Unlike some of our favorite Mexican haunts, the guacamole here isn’t prepared tableside and the portion is a tad skimpy, but it was definitely fresh tasting and satisfying. And frankly, you don’t want to fill up too much on the chips-and-dips, since the main dishes are both large and delicious (always an ideal combination). Enchiladas suizas, chock full of chicken, arrived in a properly zesty green tomatillo sauce. The cochinita pibil, pulled pork marinated in achiote, orange juice, and spices, was just as tender as advertised. The grilled skirt steak, aka carne asada, was beefy and flavorful (and served just as rare as requested). Other appealing-sounding options include Gabriela’s “legendary” rotisserie chicken, the baked snapper in a Vera Cruz zauce, and the honey chipotle-glazed pork ribs, plus a slew of vegetarian dishes. Gabriela’s also earns points for allowing you a choice of two side dishes – rather than just forcing you to down red rice and refried beans (which are among the options) – including a very nice side salad, yummy sautéed vegetables, and first-rate charro beans. Most of the table -- hearty eaters all -- were too full to indulge in dessert, opting instead to end the meal with a very frothy cappuccino (which can be spiked with various liqueurs). But we forced ourselves to sample the house’s flan, which was nicely creamy. Next go-round we’ll try to save room for a tres leches cake, homemade cheesecake, or the kitchen’s crepes de cajota. Trust me, we will back to Gabriela’s.

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton


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