El Centro – Midtown – Hell’s Kitchen – NYC

El Centro, located at 824 9th Ave @ 54th St, is one of my favorite go to places to eat in midtown for lunch or dinner. I haven’t tried their brunch yet, although I reeeeeally want to! Eggs Benedict is on the menu, duh. I prefer to go for lunch mostly because if you go for dinner you may end up waiting for a table.

The margaritas here are strong.  I don’t know if it is just because I am a lightweight, but I don’t think so. They are tasty!

As soon as you order they bring out unlimited fresh warm chips and salsa.  I could probably go there just for this alone, because it is that good, but that wouldn’t be right… right?

The guacamole is delicious, it goes fast.  A little pricy, but it is probably just because I am not used to paying for someone to make it for me, I just make it myself. My go to meals here are the Mexican corn appetizer, the carnitas burrito/tacos, the steak or shrimp chilaquiles, and the grilled mahi mahi tacos.

The one downside of the Mexican corn is that it is just one piece split into 3, I always wish there was just one more piece, especially since I am always there with people, and want more than one piece to myself! The signature of Mexican corn, otherwise known as elote is that it is coated in at least crema, cotija cheese and dusted with chili powder of some sort. When i make it at home I use Tajin 🙂 The garnish for the corn goes really well with it. I love when garnishes are actually edible and highlight what your eating, instead of just being a decoration.

I don’t know what they do to the carnitas here, but it is off the hook. I believe they use coca cola to get the meat nice and crispy and caramelized when it’s grilled. It’s good as the taco as well, but I prefer in the burrito. It’s not a burrito you can really pick up, but I gladly eat it with a fork and knife. The one down side is I don’t love the dressing that comes on the salad that comes with it. It is too sweet for my taste. I think it would be better dressed with just lime, salt and pepper for a plate like this. But I’m sure people who like sweet dressings love this one. I know this pic is of a taco haha, but you can see the caramelization on the edges of the carnitas, and it was delish!

El Centro - coca cola carnitas and Mexican corn
El Centro – Coca Cola Carnitas Taco and Mexican corn
Chilaquiles are basically a nacho casserole. Amazing. Whether you get steak or shrimp neither are ever over cooked, and are very flavorful. Whatever protien you get it is always topped with fresh sliced avocado and a crema drizzle.
El Centro - Shrimp Chilaquiles
El Centro – Shrimp Chilaquiles
Ever since I had fish tacos in L.A. I always crave them now, and this is one of the only places in midtown that can satisfy my fish taco craving. Maybe even the tri-state are, I don’t know, I’m not positive, but I love these.  They are topped with caramalized onion, guacamole, chipotle aioli and some fresh micorgreens. Yum.
El Centro - Grilled Mahi Mahi tacos
El Centro – Grilled Mahi Mahi tacos

The place always looks like Dia de Los Muertos with metallic decorations all over the place. Everyone wants their corona bottle chandeliers and table tops shellacked with bottle caps.  They also carry tamarind soda, which i love.

Find their menu online here: http://www.elcentro-nyc.com/menu.pdf

Phone them here: 646-763-6585

One thought on “El Centro – Midtown – Hell’s Kitchen – NYC

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