La Palapa

By grace.g.yang ยท August 17, 2007
Under: Dinner,East Village,Mexican

A coworker from the project I’m currently staffed on recommended La Palapa (specifically in the East Village) for me to take my friends for a Saturday night dinner. My friend, Josh, is in the city for the week and I’ve been taking him around to all of my favorite restaurants – Shake Shack, Pearl Oyster Bar, John’s Pizzeria, Seoul Garden, Big Wong’s – but I wanted to try some Mexican food and since I haven’t really experienced any good Mexican food in New York, I thought I’d go off a recommendation. Kevin, my friend, recommended La Palapa and used to be a regular when he lived in the city. Since he raved about the place, I made a reservation for Saturday night. He also recommended a bunch of dishes, so I knew exactly what to order (and what to tell everyone else to order!).

For an appetizer, we ordered chalupas – one for everyone at the table! The chalupas were really delicious; the crunchiness of the chalupas with the creamy guacamole, salty black beans, and cheese was like a party in my mouth! Too bad they were so tiny!

The Chalupas and all their glory (cornmeal that was shaped into little boats and then deep fried), homemade sausage, guacamole, black beans, queso fresco and cream):

Another shot of the chalupas:

Chris and I decided to order one soup and one main course (Kevin recommended so many things and they all sounded so delicious that I had to figure out how to eat EVERYTHING on my first visit!). Chris’ soup was a semi-spicy soup with chick peas and beef in a zesty broth accompanied by avocado, radishes, oregano and fresh lime:

The soup was good, but not something that I’d order again. It was a little salty, but the radishes offset the saltiness.

I ordered chicken enchiladas with a red mole sauce (the mole is supposed to be GREAT at La Palapas). I’ve never had mole sauce so I really don’t know what it SHOULD taste like, but I liked the semi-bitter/sweet taste. My chicken enchiladas in a rich red mole, homemade queso fresco, cream and sweet onion:

The dish was a little too bitter at first and I wondered if I liked it or not. After a couple bites, I realized that I liked it a LOT, ESPECIALLY the mole sauce. Then I realized I ate it too fast and I got a really bad headache from eating the mole. Maybe I was allergic to it?

Tim actually went to the same restaurant the night before and ordered the special from the night (and made Josh order it). Instead of getting a main course, Tim just ordered some steak tacos. Tim’s tacos:

Since he didn’t share, I can’t really say if they were good or bad, but I think he enjoyed them.

Josh ordered the special (because Tim forced him to…seriously). Josh’s enchiladas in a rich mole sauce (different from our mole sauce):

Josh really hated the dish and I thought the mole sauce tasted like it was burnt. My mole sauce was burnt and bitter, but it was sweeter (there was a mixture of orange juice and chocolate). Josh’s mole sauce didn’t have any sweetness to complement the bitterness and he ended up really disliking the dish. I felt really bad since it was his first night in New York and he had a terrible eating experience, but he liked the chalupas and we took him to Pinkberry afterwards, which he enjoyed, so I guess the night wasn’t a total bust.

I would go back to La Palapa for a girls night out, a date night, or a fun night with friends. It seemed like a very fun place to go with people after work for margaritas or a quick bite to eat. Their prices were a little steep for Mexican food, but their portions were large (large enough for two to share). Next time, I would try the skirt steak – I hear it’s great!

La Palapa on Urbanspoon

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