El Tequilazo is Pretty Much What I Expected

With an El Rey Del Sabor cart so close to my office, when I’m craving Mexican food I usually don’t have to venture too far. But while scoping out El Tequilazo for a potential Happy Hour visit, I saw a pamphlet for $8.95 lunch specials. Zach had noted specials under $10 back in 2009 advertised on a board right outside, and now they have some fancy fliers with pretty pictures!

This is one of the places I really debated about before going. I just knew it was going to be one of those overpriced places that’s not worth the money but gets by on tourists and people who don’t share the Midtown Lunch philosophy of thrift.

Although El Tequilazo is a Colombian-Mexican restaurant, the specials are only Mexican food. The choices are nachos, burrito, tacos, enchiladas, flautas, quesadilla, guacamole and chips, taco salad, and tostadas, with a choice of chicken, beef, or cheese and vegetables (I can’t tell if that means cheese, vegetables, or cheese + vegetables).

I ate in the restaurant that day since it’s not too far away from my day job. I often order the enchiladas at a place I haven’t tried because the sauce usually ensures my meal won’t be too dry. I really wasn’t expecting it, but a bowl full of tortilla chips and salsa came out. Oh joy! At least I knew I was going to be full. I had no complaints about the chips; they were even a little bit warm. The salsa wasn’t my style because I like very spicy, low viscosity salsa. El Tequilazo’s salsa is chunky, not spicy, and sugar-heavy, so if you prefer this style, you’ll be pleased.

Luckily after after the chips, I was already approaching satiation, because the chicken enchiladas were nothing to write home about. The portion was OK — even though there were only two enchiladas, they were stuffed with meat and respectably large. The sauce was robust and flavorful, but I wish it had more of a chile kick (although I wasn’t surprised — although this is off the Mexican menu, Colombian cuisine tends not to be spicy). The rice and beans added food volume but not much flavor.

The meat inside the chicken enchilada was a bit disconcerting. It was dark meat, which I’m fine with. But it was… a little too dark. Think: the color of canned mushrooms. It tasted like chicken, but the color plus bits of tendon here and there made me wonder. My best guess is that dark chicken meat is stewed in a mixture of spices that make it appear even darker. My worst guess is probably best left unsaid. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone who expects white meat in a chicken enchilada. Go far. Go far, far away from here if that is what you’re looking for.

Of course, I ate it anyway, because I’m not that picky. The meat was soft and the flavor wasn’t bad. And it didn’t make me sick. But here’s what pisses me off. If I found this meat at a place that charged me $5 for the same thing, I’d be absolutely fine with it. That would just be one of the little quirks. But an establishment that charges this much (for a special no less) and includes somewhat scary looking meat is just not acceptable.

I left saying to myself, at least I got tortilla chips, but unfortunately the dine in experience put me over the $10 limit thanks to tip.

What I would like to try is their happy hour (at some point) to see if you get the free tortilla chips when you’re drinking and to find out if the Colombian dishes on the menu are any better. So, when I get in the mood for beer with Shakira music, I’ll give the place a +/- treatment.

El Tequilazo, 43 W 46th St (btw 5+6th). 212-768-0770


  • I thought the ML rule was dark meat or bust…this doesn’t seem to follow the ml rule. I personally enjoy my white meat chicken and don’t prefer dark meat. But I also hate potbelly, NO 7 Sub, shake shack and freddie’s…and probably wouldn’t bother with the above place for lunch….

  • This place during happy hour hours is a trip. Or a fresh brand of torture, depending on one’s tolerance for noisy bars and low-quality eats. A Colombian colleague dragged me and some other co-workers here about a month ago. It was not at all touristy. Full of mostly South Americans watching futbol, dancing, and boozing it up pretty hard. The drink was none too cheap ($11 shots of Patron!) and the food, well, you gave it a good rundown here. Someone ordered the “Picadita,” a dish which I still find amusing in premise. It was a mountain of grilled chicken, steak, chicharron, potatoes, and fried yuca. And it was indeed served in the shape and size of a mountain. I’ll say one things for Colombians, they know how to carbo/protein-load.

  • Their food is so bad.

  • Thanks for the comments everyone! @Goats, I like both white and dark, but I usually prefer white in enchiladas. Although I’ve had some white meat in enchiladas in the Midwest that must have been canned chicken meat. That wasn’t so nice. @Sam – I don’t think I would go back for lunch, but especially after your comment I might try the happy hour. Do you remember what day of the week you went by any remote chance? @ Midtown_Eater, what dishes have you tried there that one should *not* order?

    • It was Friday. I remember it like it was yesterday. Or at least I remember the raging hangover I had the day after like it was yesterday.

  • Not for nothing, the margarita I had there was very disappointing and I’m not disappointed by margaritas very easily.

  • This place is gone.

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