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Papatzul Restaurant - Delicias Mexicanas

by Susan Weinrebe
January 26, 2007
Papatzul
55 Grand Street
(between West Broadway and Wooster)
New York, NY 10013
212.274.8225
We were cold, tired and hungry. Make that starved. We had just left a flamenco performance at the Joyce SoHo Theater and were looking for a place to eat. That shouldn't have been too hard, but we were being picky, picky, picky. Just like the routine Jackie Mason does about diners who can't be satisfied, no establishment seemed just right. They were too busy, too empty, too noisy, too quiet, the cuisine didn't hit us or we'd just eaten that kind of food. We even stumbled into a strip joint, albeit a classy one, before we vowed, "The next one we come to is IT!"

And then we found Papatzul. We were seated at a cozy corner banquette and despite a busy large party, instantly got the attention of our busboy, Pepe and server, Joanna. A Margarita Tradicional on the rocks, with plenty of salt, in a glass that I needed both hands to heft was my choice, and Roberta ordered a white Chilean wine. Both were delicious and we took seconds midway through the meal.

I settled back to take in the décor and other people. The lighting was softened to a relaxing glow with tropical colors and plank tables also lit with the obligatory candles. A mango-colored wall displayed a knock-out collection of Mexican masks and was the most folksy touch I noticed. Couples on dates, small groups, and a good-sized party were an easy-to-fit-in-with crowd, all comfortably dressed in nicely casual wear. They looked like they were having a good time and I saw plates near to licked clean.

Our Totopos con Guacamole and salsa arrived with the guacamole in a hefty stone bowl and there was almost too much of the appetizer to finish. The avocado, flavored with enough garlic to taste but not worry about, was blended to perfect dipping consistency. Hypnotically, we dipped, enjoyed, drank, and repeated in an altogether pleasing rhythm that chipped away at our hunger pangs.

Then our Chile Poblano Relleno de Calabaza y Almendras con Salsa de Tomate entrees arrived. Yes, yes, no original thoughts, we copy catted each other. Actually, the Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Butternut Squash, Currants, Sliced Almonds and Tomato Salsa sounded so delicious neither of us could resist.

We congratulated ourselves on our excellent choice; the grilled, not fried, peppers were as delicious as we had hoped. With a little bite towards the back upper palate, the flavoring melded spice and sweet and we could have ordered seconds there too, but the portions, without being piggy, were sufficient. We didn't have to leave food on our plates, walk out with embarrassing Styrofoam boxes, or stuff ourselves to finish. We were satisfied. Maybe that's why we didn't even think of ordering dessert.

Not only did the Floor Supervisor, Pancha, stop at our table to check on us, but when we told her how much we enjoyed our meal, the Chef, Thierry, came out to chat!

My only regret? I have to wait for my next trip to New York before I return to sample other delicias Mexicanas dishes on the Papatzul menu.
Appetizers At Papatzul

Appetizers At Papatzul

Photo © & courtesy of Susan Weinrebe


Papatzul Chile Poblano Entree

Papatzul Chile Poblano Entree

Photo © & courtesy of Susan Weinrebe


Pepe, Pancha, Joanna, Chef Thierry At Papatzul

Pepe, Pancha, Joanna, Chef Thierry At Papatzul

Photo © & courtesy of Susan Weinrebe


Mask Collection At Papatzul

Mask Collection At Papatzul

Photo © & courtesy of Susan Weinrebe

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