Restaurant Review: Rosa Mexicano (USQ – 18th/between 5th and Broadway)

It could be that this post is being written because I just finished a Jamba Juice for dinner and I’m still STARVING (can you tell the wife is out-of-town?) or it could that be I want to hook you up with a quality restaurant to check out.  So how did I find this spot?

Insert another friend of mine, Sebastian (Seb) Buffa.

He happens to be the Union Square (USQ) campus pastor for Liberty.  He’s an Aussie who, despite what the picture looks like, is a smiling, pretty hilarious, down to earth dude (follow him on twitter..his tweets are pretty good).  So when he asked if I’d been to Rosa Mexicano and I told him I hadn’t, he put his hand on my shoulder, stopping me dead in my tracks, and said, “Mate, we must go and you have to order the guacamole.  It will change your life.”

Pretty bold statement.  Being from California where Mexican food is as good as it gets (short of having it in Mexico), I thought that he was just mis-informed.  All I kept thinking was that this guy had no clue what TRUE quality Mexican food is.

Then the lunch appointment occurred where Seb suggested we go there.  It’s a fairly visible restaurant from the street.  The flag makes it pretty obvious when you’ve arrived.

What makes this restaurant really stand out against most others is the spaciousness inside.  NY establishments like to squeeze as many people in as they possibly can (whether it’s over the listed Fire Marshall capacity limit or not).  Not here…plenty of room.  In the middle of the room, there’s some cool decor.  They have a wall divider between two rooms that has some type of diver figures attached to sections of it with water running down those sections and a ton of multi colored LED lights changing the feel and look of it every few minutes.

As soon as we sat down, the guacamole was ordered.  The server rolls a cart to your table and it is made to order (you pick the level of spice hotness).  It’s served in an old school clay-looking pot.  They include 2 other small types of salsa…a mild verde one and a hot red oaxacan salsa as well as flour tortillas so you can eat it more like a taco.  I’m not going lie…coming from Cali where they serve guacamole like this in mass quantities, $14 seemed a bit much for this appetizer. But the size of the bowl along with house-made accoutrements and table service made it feel like you weren’t totally getting taken advantage of.

On to the entree..I went with the Carne Asada tacos (skillet style).  I wasn’t too sure what “skillet style” meant but when it came to the table, I got it.

The meat is served in a miniature skillet with melted chihuahua cheese at its base.  The flavor of the meat was unbelievably good!  All the other taco items are served in separate small dishes.  You build the taco of your liking.  Along with the meat and cheese, you can mix up each taco with choices of vegetables, salsas, house rice, refried beans, red bean-chorizo chili, creamy corn esquites, and fresh tortillas. With some of the leftover guacamole, oaxacan salsa, and salsa verde, the different taco combinations you can go with are endless. Price tag on this bad boy was…$23.50.

They had some pretty good-looking desserts but I did not indulge.  It was lunch, after all.  I left feeling completely content.  I must give it up to Seb.  He came through with a good spot.  Come to find out, this restaurant has expanded to a few different states.  Definitely put it on your list of upscale mexican places to check out!