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The Alamo

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The Alamo

Address: 304 East 48th Street
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10017
Phone: (212) 759-0590
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: Mexican
Area: East 40s
Entree Price: $20-25


There are certainly New Yorkers who remember The Alamo, the once-popular Tex-Mex joint on East 48th Street that was the scene of many a festive after-work happy hour. The restaurant closed in 2002, only to be later reborn as the pan-Latin Ola and (very briefly) C, an upscale seafood eatery which closed just a few weeks ago. Now, this somewhat cavernous if attractive space once again bears the name, The Alamo. Moreover, the old owners, Margo Portela and Manuel Nunez, are back at the helm, and chef Adan Cortes is back in the kitchen. But this time around, the food is far more interesting than the margaritas. Indeed, Cortes, a native of Puebla, Mexico, is serving remarkably delicious, authentic food -- albeit at fairly hefty prices. (No one should ever pay $18 for chicken enchiladas!). You can still start the meal with a margarita – indeed, there’s an extensive tequila menu on hand – along with the house’s fine guacamole, which is prepared tableside. But don’t fill up on the chips and skip the first-rate ceviches, which can be ordered individually or in a $20 tasting plate that allows you to sample all four: supple shrimp in citrus-tomato salsa; exemplary red snapper with lime, onion, tomato and cilantro; blue fin tuna gorgeously balanced with a sour orange-achiote marinade; and practically translucent sea scallops in a epazote-cilantro-citrus sauce. You can share something from the more traditional appetizer section -- such as a quartet of greaseless empanadas filled with a tasty cheese-and-chicken mixture. Even without ordering appetizers, mains are large enough to share. Take the two impressive slabs of superb almond-crusted tuna (which must be ordered rare) that sit atop a huge mound of white sweet potato puree. Meanwhile, the tampiquena proves to be a 50/50 proposition in more ways than one: the flattened grilled filet mignon is perfectly seasoned, while the chicken enchilada is a tad dry and the mole sauce a tad too sweet. Indeed, if you want to make your sweet tooth happy, head straight for the warm crepes filled with cajeta (a Mexican goat cheese) swathed in caramel sauce. They may not be as memorable as The Alamo, but they’re far from forgettable. – Review by Brian Scott Lipton

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton