From authentic Tex-Mex to smoked brisket, Texas culinary traditions are taking over NYC.
The latest Lone Star state-inspired restaurant to hit the scene is El Original. Everyone has that friend from California who constantly complains about the lack of authentic Mexican food in New York City but, according to Dallas-born, Houston-raised owner Lisa Fain, Texans are just as wistful.
“The people have demanded their queso, their breakfast tacos and their cheesy enchiladas, and we’re happy to help,” says Fain, who’s behind the James Beard Award-winning blog and cookbook series, Homesick Texan.
Her restaurant specializes in Tex-Mex, that fusion of American and Mexican fare that is characterized by a heavy use of beef, yellow cheese, wheat flour and cumin. Rather than chimichangas and cheese fries, the cuisine comprises dishes like chile con carne, fajitas and puffy tacos.
“Despite what most people think, Tex-Mex is not imitation Mexican food. It’s a melding of many cultures…much like the state of Texas itself,” says Fain, whose favorite items include cheese enchiladas, puffy tacos and chile con queso or, as she likes to call it, “Tex-Mex fondue.”
Texpats had few options in New York for genuine chile con queso save for Brooklyn’s Lobo, but thanks to a slate of openings that also includes Gramercy hotspot Javelina and, in recent years, BrisketTown and Morgan’s Barbecue for all things grilled meat, things are quickly starting to change.
From barbecue joints to Tex-Mex bona fides, here’s where to eat like a Texan in NYC right now.