Los Dados: ‘Comfort Food’ Meatpacking Style
While it can be ferociously debated whether or not you can actually have true ‘made-in-my-momma’s-kitchen’ style comfort food in the Meatpacking District, chef Sue Torres does her best to churn out tasty Mexican ‘comfort food’ that is still fashionable enough for the ‘hood.
Los Dados is hoppin’ on a Thursday night – packed with the ritzy downtown set, gaggles of well-dressed gay men, girls in platform high heels, and the occasional ‘normal’ family party. This is definitely a place to go with a group. The music is bumping, the crowds are crowding, the margheritas are flowing.
Situated on the corner of Gansevoort and Washington, Los Dados is slightly off to the side of Meatpacking’s core at Gansevoort and Hudson, yet it attracts the same chi-chi crowd and has the same scene-y look. Decorated (perhaps over-decorated), Los Dados embodies how New Yorkers would design a tiled ‘taqueria,’ over-flowing with spiky plants, expensive Mexican kitsch, and rust red tiles. The inside bar almost mimics a sort of Mexican tiki bar while the restaurant feels as though you’re stepping into a dressed-up hut, the type you would find on a 5-star resort – faux proletarian with all the top-notch amenities. In all honesty, Los Dados walks the fine line between tacky and fun.
As is to be expected for a Meatpacking restaurant swamped with oftentimes obnoxious New York eaters, Los Dados struggles on the service front. The hostess was supremely unhelpful and even tried to tell me that she couldn’t find my party when they called our name. We were at the bar…where she picks up everyone looking for a table…and where she asked us to sit originally. This ‘mishap’ led us to wait for another 15 minutes (on top of the 20 we already had, despite a reservation). Our waitress, while spritzy and fun, kept forgetting my margherita refill order. However, she did bring out the food and the check in rapid fashion.
The food was actually surprisingly good for a Mexican restaurant in a neighborhood starving for quality eats. The menu focuses on homestyle Mexican dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. The guacamole was served in substantial portions and was a delicious start to the meal despite the absurd $10 price tag. In fact, each of these ‘comfort’ food dishes did not have comfortable prices. A steak quesadilla for $20? Fish tacos for $20? I’m used to mexican food sitting around the $10 price line. Regardless, if you’re willing to shell out, you won’t be disappointed. The ‘Al Pastor’ tacos with roasted pork and charred jalapeno-pineapple salsa were absolutely riveting. I couldn’t stop eating them, even when my soft taco shell disintegrated around me. The sweet pineapple and savory pork are a match made in heaven.
Los Dados is an ideal precursor to a night on the town – strong drinks, good and filling food, and hot music all come together in a vibrant and supremely fun setting. Fiesta Fiesta!