After it opened in 2012, we spent a few years shouting about how Casa Enrique is this city’s best Mexican restaurant. And, nowadays, this Long Island City establishment stays packed as ever with loyal neighborhood regulars and people from other boroughs who know that this place is worth crossing a bridge for. But would we say it’s still the single best Mexican restaurant around? Probably not.
To be clear, Casa Enrique is a Queens institution, and their crunchy fish tacos, spicy ceviche, and rich mole de Piaxtla remain essential eating whenever we’re in the mood for unfussy Mexican dishes. But, as the NYC Mexican food scene continues to grow, this spot has stayed almost exactly the same.
Worthwhile as always, Casa Enrique’s ceviche comes in a massive bowl filled with a spicy pool of tomato-infused lime juice, and each marinated chunk of fish tastes like it’s been rolling around in a bed of cilantro (the same way Mr. Krabs would luxuriate on a pile of money). The top-notch margaritas — such as the seasonal special made with fresh watermelon juice — are also essential orders. They’re refreshing and just a bit tropical but not too complicated or gimmicky.
Casa Enrique is certainly not “on trend.” (There’s no mention of heirloom corn on the menu, and the tostadas aren’t topped with colorful carrots.) But this is still a reliable venue for a casual date night or a few rounds of well-executed margaritas. It’s a simple and timeless NYC spot that’s been one of our favorite places to eat over the years, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
You want it, so get it. We’d recommend ordering this guacamole “hot,” as we’ve found the medium to be a bit too mild for our taste.
A particularly limey ceviche with a punch of acidic flare from the tomato juice, we order this dish at Casa Enrique every single time we visit. The fish tastes very fresh, and this usually comes with five to six massive tortilla chips on the side for scooping.
The best thing about these tacos? Simplicity. The fish on our most recent visit was tilefish, but it’ll change from time to time depending on what’s good and available. Don’t concern yourself with the species. Concern yourself with getting these in your mouth.
A special from time to time, we think these steak tacos should always be on the menu. They’re absolutely amazing.
Enchiladas De Pollo
These enchiladas are stuffed with pulled chicken, then topped with an incredible salsa verde. The dish is much lighter than you might expect, and you want it.
A must order. Consider these a palate cleanser.
What makes Casa Enrique’s chile relleno different (and so good) is the fact that it’s not heavily breaded and comes served in an absolutely amazing sweet tomato sauce. Stuffed with Oaxacan cheese and served with tortillas, this will fill you up so much that, about halfway through, you’ll be negotiating with your stomach to let you finish. Negotiating tip: under-promise and over-deliver.
Mole de Piaxtla
This is some of our all-time favorite mole poblano in the city. Expect some sweetness, with a rich and smoky undertone.
Pastel Tres Leches
Look at that picture, right where the cake meets the dish. See that? That’s a fingertip-deep pool of condensed milk, and the cake is basically 100% saturated with it. You need to finish your meal with this.