Mexico City Blues

11/11/2009 4:00 AM |

Los Feliz

109 Ludlow St., 212-228-8383
Price Range: $7-$15 Rating: 2 out of 5 L’s

For many of us dwelling on the LES, Spitzer’s Corner has become a way of life. More often than not, quibbles over where to go out often end with the phrase, “Fuck it, let’s just go to Spitzer’s.” It may not be the best, but it’s got something for everyone.

Unsurprisingly, the same goes for Los Feliz, the new Mexican spot from the Spitzer’s folks, though they’ve traded burgers and beer for tacos and tequila. The vibe inside is similar: dimly lit and huge, with multiple dining rooms and the exotic option of communal seating. On a recent Friday night, the top floor was bustling around a slick bar stocked with over thirty kinds of tequila.

It is a known fact that tequila makes people loud, but if you’re headed to Los Feliz, be prepared to communicate with your dining companions only through text messages. Or, you could just hop on the bandwagon and order a couple of (admittedly small) jalapeño margaritas and get loud. The crisp, grassy addition of the much-loved pepper (minus the heat) perfectly balances out the overwhelming tartness of the classic margarita.

All of the food at Los Feliz is made to complement your rapidly escalating level of drunkenness, though some of it fails to do the trick. Chips and guacamole weren’t particularly fresh— the guacamole was bland and colorless, while the chips, served in a brown paper bag, would have benefited immensely from being served hot. The huitaloche quesadilla was a greasy mess. There were too many mushrooms for the cheese to keep the whole thing glued together.

Stick to the tacos, which are, again, small and overpriced, but come cradled in soft, pillowy tortillas. The puerco was tender and well-seasoned, and sprinkled with corn kernels; it had unexpected bursts of sweetness and texture. Similarly unusual were the camaron enchilado tacos, which featured a Thai-style peanut sauce on top of tender grilled shrimp. The barbacoa was too salty, but the meat was nicely braised and featured a generous helping of caramelized onions.

Los Feliz’s main problem lies in the fact that you can get similar tacos, with bigger margaritas, at so many other taquerias in the city. The food does the trick and the layout of the restaurant is spectacular, but it’s not exactly excellente.