Half a Year Later, Mexicue Keeps on Truckin’
It’s been about 5 months since the launch of Mexicue, and I’ve watched the steady patter of positive and negative commentary since my original assessment, with interest. Noticing they recently came under the good graces of the New York Times, I decided it was time for a re-visit. During my previous write-up, I’d commented that the food doesn’t shy from big flavors, though the portions are restrained and the operations needed a good deal of improvement. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, and while these guys still have room for improvement, they’ve certainly come a long way.
There are now three cooks in the back and one dedicated man in the window, significantly expediting the ordering and cooking process. And they’ve thoughtfully added a heat lamp to the counter to keep outgoing food warm. The portion sizes seem to be about the same as before, though I think most lunchers would be plenty full after $10 worth of food. For the extra dollar or two, you trade quantity for quality, something I’m always happy to do.
The multi-layered BBQ brisket slider ($3) is triumphantly meaty and well rounded by a crunchy slaw and nutty avocados. ‘Mexichili’ slider ($3) with a cilantro lime crema is a grow-up version of a sloppy Joe – assertively spicy, refreshingly zesty from the crema, hearty and comforting. If only they had served something this good in my elementary school cafeteria growing up.
The tacos were a little less successful than the sliders, but still quite good. The short rib taco ($4) suffered from having too much of the mushy meat (not that’s really a bad thing). The single layer of tortilla disintegrated immediately, and I was left picking on short rib shrapnel and a soggy tortilla.
Mexicue treats our rabbit food eating friends with earnest respect. As a vegetarian dish, the smoky pinto bean taco ($3) is a substantial bite of food, and sings loudly with flavor and spice. I’d previously noted that the beet taco with goat cheese would be well received by both omnivores and vegetarians.
I believe they, for the most part, succeed in executing their ambitious multi-ethnic menu. Yet it’s accessible enough to please the Café Metro loving co-worker with a conservative culinary predisposition that you’ve dragged along. And I truly enjoyed the cheeky amount of spice that went into all of the dishes – it’s just enough of a jolt to get the afternoon started right.
It’s been a great year for the “Year of the Taco”, and Mexicue has no doubt been more of an asset than a liability to the Midtown Lunch’ing scene. For a vendor that once started out as a hype generating machine, they’ve finally settled into their groove as a legitimately gourmet food truck.