Restaurant: Las Margaritas Restaurant – 38-01 Broadway, Astoria, NY
Whenever I go to a Mexican restaurant I always get the same thing – one of the combination platters that gives me a sampling of different types of Mexican food. When I went to check out Las Margaritas Restaurant in Astoria, of course I wasn’t going to differ from my usual.
On a Friday night, Las Margaritas was hopping. In addition to a small interior area, the restaurant also has outdoor seating which wraps around the corner location of the restaurant. We were guided to a seat outside and took in the surroundings. It was loud, very loud. One of the things I like about Astoria is that it’s much quieter than the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. There aren’t a million cabbies blasting their horns and everything seems a little less hectic. Apparently, on a Friday night all bets are off since at the intersection right outside the restaurant there were plenty of loud cars, horns blaring and people yelling. Not exactly what I had in mind for a relaxing dinner. Las Margaritas also has some music playing which was nice, but the volume could have been turned down a little bit. (After re-reading this paragraph I’ve come to realize that I’m clearly no longer fun. Enough complaining from me!)
We ordered some margaritas and sangria and started snacking on the complimentary chips and salsa. (Any Mexican place that doesn’t give you chips and salsa for free just isn’t worth visiting.) My margarita was very sweet and definitely had a lot of margarita mix in it. It was so sweet that I was barely able to finish my first drink. I wasn’t a fan.
For food, naturally, I ordered one of the combination plates -Oaxaca: enchilada, quesadilla and tamal. What’s a tamal? I had no idea either.
This dish was your typical Mexican combo platter with one exception. The enchilada and quesadilla were good but nothing special. However, the tamal blew me away. It was masa (like cornbread) that was filled with meat and cheese. Oh my god, this was so food. I was in heaven eating the cornbread-like masa and was disappointed when there was nothing left. (I did contemplate ordering another one.)
Las Margaritas Restaurant was your run-of-the-mill Mexican joint. It was extremely noisy in the outdoor seating area and I found myself nearly shouting in order to carry on a conversation. Overall, the food was average and the margaritas were heavily sweetened with margarita mix. I wasn’t impressed and do not recommend this place.
PS – Tamal, also known as tamale, is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa (starchy dough, usually corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. This wrapper is then discarded before eating. I can now say I learned something today.