Papatzul Needs More Zest
I had very high hopes for Papatzul. Not only I had I gotten rave reviews from a couple sources, but everything from the name (sexy, no?) to the premise (intimate and down-to-earth mexican food with an endless array of tequila varieties) pumped me up.
Unfortunately, it’s not the best mexican I’ve had in New York nor is the atmosphere anything to write home about. To begin with, I had to wait 20 minutes to sit down. Now, I realize this is fairly standard in New York, but no matter how many times I eat out, it has never failed to irritate me. In hopes of raising my spirits, my friend and I sat down at the bar for a glass of sangria. TOO SWEET.
When we’re finally brought to our table, I look at the menu, which on it’s best day is funky and on it’s worst is straight-up bizarre. I have a difficult time finding something that truly peaks my interest. We order a pitcher of margheritas – very good, I will give Papatzul that. But it says something for the food where after half a pitcher of tequila, I still am unhappy with what I’m tasting. I had the corn masa cakes with zucchini, mushrooms and goat cheese – decidedly unsatisfying. I probably would have been safer with the roasted chicken, but really, who wants to play it safe?
The scene: families, groups of friends, dates – you’ve got the whole mix here. And the restaurant is appropriate for all – not too big, not too small, twinkling lantern lighting, stucco walls, and down-home furnishings. And most importantly, it is not brought down by cheesy Mexican-restaurant decor (i.e. sombreros and red/white/green streamers everywhere).
To make a long story short, great margs, mediocre food, mediocre service – this all adds up to ‘I’m going to keep looking for the ideal Mexican.’