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CLOSED: Dinner at Pelea Mexicana

  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Atmosphere: spacious, dramatic interior
  • Attire: smart casual
  • Ideal for: small groups, 1x1
  • Price: moderate - all entrees under $26
  • Phone: 212-925-1600
  • Location: 33 6th Avenue (at Broadway)
  • Websiteclick *here*
  • Directions:  www.hopstop.com/?city=newyork
  • *All photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr


    As I walked through the doors of what used to be Bar Artisanal, I could not help but reflect on the French bistro fare that I enjoyed at the restaurant in the summer of 2009.  And, with its demise just one year ago, I had to wonder: Could Pelea Mexicana finally be the anchor that will hold down this frequently turned-over space?

    While the skeleton of the restaurant remained intact, the interior decor seemed drastically different.  See for yourself:

    The way it was: Bar Artisanal, 2009And the way it is now: Pelea Mexicana, 2010

    I'd be a liar if I told you that Pelea is more aesthetically pleasing than Bar Artisanal.  Perhaps it's just me, but this particular space seems much more akin to a French restaurant than to a Mexican eatery.  But let's be honest here: the real test of Pelea would be in its food and drink - not in its lack of fancy-pants design details.   

    Upon being seated, Robin and I were greeted by our friendly server, who handed us both food and drink menus.  

    It did not take long for me to decide that I wanted to kick off my evening with frozen pomegranate margarita.

    Pelea Mexicana: pomegranate margarita with extra salt on the rim. Perfectly blended, not too sweet, tangy and of decent size.While we began to peruse the dinner menu, a bountiful basket filled with warm, salty tortilla chips arrived, accompanied by a trio of homemade salsas.  Did I mention that this gesture was on-the-house?  No charge for chips 'n salsa here!    

    Pelea Mexicana: tostados and salsa trioTo further whet our appetites, Robin and I ordered the house-made guacamole.  While flavorful and blended with all of the right elements (tomato, onion, cilantro, salt, lime juice), I found the avocados to be slightly unripened, thus creating a less creamy, more dense texture.  In order to remedy this, I added a couple of spoonfuls of salsa to the guacamole on my plate and further smashed the larger avocado chunks with my fork.

    Pelea Mexicana: guacamoleFor my entree, I chose the Enchiladas Suizas, which were composed of shredded white-meat chicken, onions, and Chihuahua cheese - enveloped by soft, earthy corn tortillas and topped with a vibrant and tangy green tomatillo sauce.  The enchiladas were baked and presented in a clay, oven-proof casserole.  Black beans and a garlicky rice accompanied.

    Although I told myself that I'd stop at two, I ended up eating the entire plate of enchiladas.  Yes, they were that good.

    Pelea Mexicana: Enchiladas Suizas~

    Conclusion  I really enjoyed my overall experience at Pelea and firmly believe that this newer Mexican restaurant is armed with some serious staying-power.  I would definitely recommend Pelea to you, dear readers.   

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    Reader Comments (1)

    What kind of Tequila did they use for the margs and more importantly how good was the rice/beans? The overall food quality can usually be measured on the level of tastiness of rice/beans in most Mexican restaurants.

    December 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjulio

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