Añejo Tequileria is one of the best restaurants in New York, assuming you’re either 1) on a diet, 2) looking for a second dinner, or 3) just had your stomach stapled. We say that because while it's pretty good, the food here isn't really the focus. The menu is actually quite short - there are many more pages of tequila options than there are things to eat. We found that to be a bit odd for a Top Chef-helmed restaurant.
Añejo is the brainchild of season who-knows-what contestant, Angelo Sosa. He was the guy that didn't win, but the guys hated and the girls loved. Or maybe the girls hated him and the guys loved him. Who can remember anymore. You get the point. You also might remember Angelo from the first establishment he opened after his stint on the show, Social Eatz, which has since closed...probably because of the Z. We liked that restaurant, and there are some things we like about Añejo too, even though its food offerings are a bit limited. As we said earlier, what is on the menu here is pretty good. But they also take the “small” in “small plates” really seriously. We almost had to start a new category called “Perfect For: Tiny Servings” for this review. So if you come here starving and looking to stuff your face with Mexican food until you can’t walk, know that you’ll have to order just about everything they offer, and are likely to end up with a bill as big as the one you get from Time Warner Cable every month by the time you're done. But if you’re just looking for a couple good tacos and a killer tequila selection, this is your spot. And the margarita that the Village Voice called the best in NYC last year? Yeah, it’s pretty damn good, and you’ll get more than three sips out of it. The rest of their tequila-based cocktails are worth trying too.
The only problem that we have with Añejo other than the price/food ratio is the space itself. It’s always full and the crowd is usually attractive, but the tables are so tightly packed that every seat in the place might as well be at a communal table. That's good for creating a lively atmosphere and a few opportunities for eavesdropping, but you don’t have nearly as much space as you’d expect to when you’re spending $14 on a plate of two tacos. Particularly all the way out here on 10th Avenue. Añejo could be a great neighborhood hang if they dropped the prices a bit and got rid of a few tables. As it is, this is a better place for drinking than eating.
The most disappointing thing on the menu. It’s little more than mashed up avocados, and the chips are under-fried and dripping with grease. We have a little trouble recommending a Mexican place with such boring guacamole, but the rest of the menu is good enough that it makes up for it.
Añejo charges $8 for a sampling of three different types of salsas, served with the same under-fried, greasy chips. Skip these too, and go straight for the tacos and tamales.
Some of these were fantastic, some were unimpressive. The fantastic ones were the pork and shrimp. The unimpressive were the fish and short rib. They were both a little dry, and there was one tiny strip of fried fish in each of the fish tacos. More like a fish stick taco, am I right?
The chorizo tamale was excellent. The sweet corn provided a nice contrast to the chorizo, and it was covered in cheese. We’ve never complained about that.
A perfect example of how seriously they take their “small” plates here. There was so little meat on this plate that “baby bunny” would have been a more accurate than “rabbit”. That said, the mole sauce was great - a little hot and a little sweet and the meat was nice and tender. Just give us some more of it.