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Reviewed: Sabor A Mexico II

Restaurant: Sabor A Mexico II

  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Location: 233 E. 77th Street - Manhattan 10021  
  • Pricing: $-$$ 
  • Reservations? Yes, via phone: 212-439-8301
  • Why go? Authentic, delicious Mexican food with waiter service - affordable - best chile rellenos in town
  • Note/FYI: Cash only


If you're looking for a swanky, spacious south-of-the-border restaurant with bougie frozen cocktails and $20 bowls of "guacamole made table-side," then Sabor A Mexico II is not your jam.  However, if its authentic, homemade Mexican food that you crave, then look no further.

Upon moving uptown, I wasn't too familiar with the Mexican restaurant-landscape, save for Toloache, which isn't very affordable.  I wanted to find my go-to spot; somewhere I could order delivery or casually swing by to dine-in without hesitation.  Or a fully made-up face.  Nothing too fancy, but also somewhere with waiter service.  A tequila and mezcal selection wouldn't hurt, either.  

After scouring my local options and cross referencing them on numerous websites, I came upon "Sabor A Mexico II."  Having seen a picture on Yelp of what appeared to be a house-made hard-shelled taco stuffed with meat and all the fixins (lettuce, shredded yellow cheese, pico de gallo) - coupled with the restaurant's crappy 3.5 star rating (What the hell do these pinche UES gringo's know, anyways?) - I knew that I needed to take an even closer look.  The menu read like that of any authentic restaurante's playbook: Chilaquiles - Aguas Frescas - Tamales - Chile Rellenos, etc.  It was even sprinkled with a few random items that weren't (authentic), such as Calamari and Chicken Wings.

My first experience with Sabor A Mexico II was a delivery order, which arrived on time and was comprised of: Cheese enchiladas with red guajillo chile sauce - perfectly cooked and seasoned Mexican rice and refried pinto beans that weren't completely pulverized - a hard-shelled taco (the shell was definitely homemade, by the way) generously filled with stewed, shredded chicken breast and topped with all the fixins - and tortilla chips.  Everything was warm, intact, delicious, and as authentic of a meal as something I'd find in Texas or California.  The only thing that I found odd was the addition of rice in the bottom of my taco; since it was placed at the base, perhaps its purpose was to serve as a buffer between the chicken and the shell to avoid becoming a soggy mess?  Pretty brilliant, if you ask me.    

Still high on momentum from my deliciously successful delivery order, I asked my cousin if he'd like to grab lunch with me at the restaurant.   
Located just a few steps below street level, Sabor A Mexico II is easy to miss!  Blink once, and you'll walk right on by.  
To the right of the front door is a teeny tiny patio housing a single table for one very luck party; once inside, the intimate dining room is festively decorated in bright colors and adorned with Mexican relics.  Based on my observation, the space can comfortably seat approximately twenty guests (give or take). 

Larry and I were seated immediately (12:30PM on a Sunday).  There were three other patrons in the restaurant and we were all being waited upon by a friendly male server.  We promptly ordered sodas and a basket of chips and salsa before placing our entree requests.    
While Larry opted for the hard-shell chicken tacos, I chose the chile relleno platter (a "chile relleno" is a poblano or Anaheim chile pepper stuffed with cheese, in this particular case, dipped in an egg batter and deep fried), which was accompanied by rice, beans, and warm corn tortillas.  
"Wow," he exclaimed with a full mouth, "these tacos are fantastic!"  Larry later gushed that Sabor A Mexico II's were the best (tacos) he's had in NYC.   
And speaking of, my chile relleno was not only the most authentic and delectable that I've had in the tri-state region, it was one of the best that I've tasted, period.  Texas and California included!  Instead of being filled with congealed yellow cheddar, the poblano was stuffed with a stringy white cheese that was akin to Chihuahua (cheese).  Unlike Tex-Mex renditions that I've had in Dallas and Houston, the egg batter that encrusted the pepper was incredibly thin and light, not thick and fluffy or cakey.  Crowned with a ladle of warm, garlicky tomato salsa, I finished every last bite - and rice kernel - on my plate.  
Chile relleno platter: The BEST in town!Returning to Sabor A Mexico II is all I've been able to think about for the past few days.  With plans to visit again on Sunday with a girl friend, I look forward to sampling the restaurant's margaritas.
Until we eat again
The Lunch Belle

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