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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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Stay Far Away From La Palapa

I’ve been making my way through the Diner’s Deck cards and was in the mood for Mexican a few weeks ago. La Palapa is the third Mexican spot I tried in the deck (I previously hit up Diablo Royale and Mexican Radio), and by far the greatest disappointment. The other two had some really good qualities to them and I’d go back. But I’ll never return to La Palapa again.

My friend and I went to the East Village location for the BYOB no corkage fee special on Monday nights, and by far the bottle of wine that we brought ourselves was the best part of the whole meal. One nice thing is that with the BYOB special, they serve complimentary antojito, or free little appetizers (think the Mexican version of appertivos). That night they were serving gazpacho in mini teacups and it wasn’t too bad. It was pureed a bit more than I’d like but it was tomatoey and cool so it technically fit the bill.

But then there were the entrees. I ordered three different tacos – chile chipotle barbecued chicken, roasted pineapple-chile rubbed pork and a homemade chile guajillo sausage, and each was worse than the next. Bad textures, terrible mixtures of flavor (despite how appealing each sound), and bad aftertastes. Ugh. I couldn’t even finish a single taco and they only were about 3 inches in diameter.

My friend went on the waiter’s recommendation and ordered the Arrachera al Tequila con Jalapenos Torreado, or the skirt steak marinated in a lime and tequila sauce with roasted onions and jalapenos. Sounds good, right? Wrong again. The meat was tough, the tequila and lime flavor did not come through and it was ultimately just a piece of very sub-par meat.

I won’t go on, but I was obviously very disappointed and I write this post only to warn others.  The place has pretty decent reviews, so please let me know if I’m mistaken about it! Maybe it was just a bad night, but in the meantime I’m sticking to my instinct which says to never return.

The Basics
Name: La Palapa
77 St. Marks Place between 1st and 2nd Avenue
Who to take: No one, because you won’t be going
Price: $$$ – Overpriced to say the least
Overall: No stars. Don’t go.

La Palapa on Urbanspoon

5 comments to Stay Far Away From La Palapa

  • Ugh so disappointing. It looks like street cart mexican food would have been better.

  • coulda been an off night. i have some good meals here and some not so good meals… but in general i’ve had better experience at brunch than dinner!

  • Susan

    Most of the time the head chef is off on Mondays so I often find that it’s not the best night to go out. I’ve had lousy meals at some of my favorite restaurants on Monday. Just something to consider.

  • Caryn

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the input! I hate to slam a place, but I just couldn’t imagine recommending it to anyone when there are better spots to eat (at least based on that meal). At the same time, it’s important to remember that every restaurant can have an off-night here and there.

  • Jodi

    Sucks! Total disappointment. Waitress was unprofessional, didnt seem like she had any food knowledge, and was only(and sadly) wanted to pay attention to our table for to build out bill. Bigger checks don’t mean bigger tips if you’re a crappy waitress. The food did NOT impress me at all, it was heavy and some of the scents were so strong it was offensive. None of our dishes were as interesting as they looked on the menu.

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