Best Mexican Restaurant - 2008
Rosa Mexicano brought upscale and authentic south-of-the-border fare to New York City in 1984. It is still thriving there, and in recent times has expanded to new territories; this past year it moved into Mary Brickell Village. A new Rosa Mexicano tribute CD has just been released, in which mostly long-in-the-tooth rockers do covers of their past hits but with reworked lyrics. Here is a sampling:
• "(I Know) It's Only Guacamole": "But I like it, like it, yes I do," sing the toothless — er, ageless Rolling Stones in their rockin' ode to Rosa's signature dish of extra-ripe Hass avocados — with tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt — barely mashed tableside in a molcajete ($12, for two).
• "Bridge over Troubled Tacos": Paul Simon starts off the song with a wistful recital of failed taco preparations he has tried in South Florida. Then, in an emotional moment for all, Art Garfunkel joins in and they harmonize about Rosa's tacos de carne asada, the juicy strips of grilled skirt steak atop Chihuahua cheese, served in a cast-iron skillet ($17.50).
• "Oops! ... I Did It Again": Britney turns the now-ironic title into a comic admission of eating all the red bean chorizo chili and corn esquites, as well as licking the tomato-chipotle sauce from her plate. And also eating the zarape de pato, or pulled morsels of roast duck in tortillas ($9.50). And the butterflied snapper brushed with guajillo chili sauce ($22.50). Who can blame her?
• "Pomegranate Margaritaville": Jimmy Buffett rejuvenates this overplayed mediocrity by injecting praise of the trendy fruit. And how he likes drinking Rosa's famous pomegranate margaritas at the restaurant's sleek, long, always-hopping bar; how it is only $7.95; and how it's his own damn fault his career is over.
• "U Can't Touch These": MC Hammer is talking about his enchiladas mole de xico, two soft corn tortillas filled with shredded chipotle beef and capped with Veracruz mole made with raisins, plantains, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and mulato, ancho, and pasilla chilies. He clearly doesn't want you to touch them, but they're just $16.75, so you'd think he'd be able to afford to buy another plate if you did.