NEW ORLEANS -- Everyone has their favorite spot for Mexican food, but around New Orleans there has been a surge in new taquerias putting their own stamp on the popular style. These are my top picks for Mexican restaurants of the moment.
Pavo Real 4401 Broad St., New Orleans, 504-266-2022
This little corner spot where Broad Street meets Napoleon Avenue hits the bull's-eye for traditional Mexican flavors. The style throughout is low-key, low-hype and homemade. A few breakfast dishes start the menu, and are served all day, while the tacos, the fresh-made guacamole and the chicken mole all show the house style.
Los Jefes Grill 3224 Edenborn Ave., Metairie, 504-516-2861
Although it is very new, Los Jefes feels right at home in the middle of Fat City, adding a colorful full-service taqueria to the diverse dining options here. The large menu covers all the basics, and adds specialties like chicken asada, stacked torta sandwiches and big bowls of shrimp cocktail. Nachos are particularly good, and the slow-cooked meats - carnitas, chicken tinga - bring a deep flavor.
Casa Borrega 1719 O.C. Haley Blvd., New Orleans, 504-292-3705
This new Mexican restaurant and part-time music venue has a patio that is lushly detailed with recycled materials, found objects and folk art, setting an alluring, funky setting. The kitchen specializes in authentic Mexican cooking, so instead of burritos and Tex-Mex fare look for roasted lamb with complex chile-based sauces, ceviche and Mexican shrimp cocktail and tacos filled with beef tongue, fish or spicy pork.
Del Fuego Taqueria, 4518 Magazine St., New Orleans 504-309-5797
Begin with some tostada-sized chips (made in house) and a few of the half-dozen salsas that anchor the menu. You’ll want to use them on just about anything the kitchen sends out, an dining room or the tucked away patio (weather depending of course) you can feel like you’ve gotten away from it for a bit. The menu is short but very well executed. Seafood dishes – from the fish tacos to ceviche and seared fish tostadas – are a specialty. The bar has an extensive selection of tequila and mescal for sampling.