206 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-2678

There is no lack of Mexican restaurants in NYC. From the cheapo chain places like Blockheads, where showing up wearing shoes instead of flip flops already means being overdressed, to the trendy Rosa Mexicano, where drinks and appetizers alone can set you back $100 and the miniskirts abound like daffodils on a springtime plain, finding guacamole isn't all that tough a task. Salsa Y Salsa, the Chelsea restaurant that really wants you to feel like it spring break every day, is on the cheapo side of the spectrum.

Salsa Y Salsa is regarded by many as a truly awful Mexican restaurant. Pitiably bad, some would say, as they shake their heads laboriously with a furrowed brow and lowered eyes. And yet, my friend Speeds used to drag me here just about every other week to drink margaritas and eat nachos. She couldn't get enough of the place. But then, time passed and other restaurants replaced Salsa Y Salsa in our echelon of dining options and, the next thing you know, two years are gone. So I returned to Salsa Y Salsa twice with friends to re-try their fare. Was it better than the mediocrity for which I had known them? Or the same? Or worse?

On the first visit, I went with Pike, his girlfriend Brice, and one of their friends. We ran in from the rain and were shown by a pleasant waitress to our table. None of us were terribly hungry so it was a small meal of entrees and beer. In a sense, it's what cheap Mexican is supposed to be. Beer and something wrapped in a taco. They, all three, ordered the Tacos de Pescado al Pastor, fish tacos with pineapple, and they, all three, had the same reaction. "Gee, this wouldn't be bad if only there was some fish in it." I ordered the Burrito de Tinga, a large beef burrito filled with potato, rice, black beans and cheese. Same as with the fish tacos, the protein part of the meal was noticeably thin. "Where's the beef?" I wondered as I munched on my rice and bean burrito. We left with noticeable disappointment.

My second trip, with Speeds this time, was somewhat more eventful. We showed up in the bitter cold, wind ripping at every exposed piece of skin we had. Salsa Y Salsa, we were soon to learn when they sat us at the table right in front of the door, does not have a wind-proofing system in place. Until we got up and asked to be moved to another table, each time the door opened, a blast of frigid winter air would shoot down our necks and across our faces. The piddling little curtain they hung up did absolutely nothing and the poor trio of girls who got our table after we moved ate with their hats and scarves on.

Service-wise, things could have been better. Our first waiter, an otherwise nice guy, went missing. I soon discovered him at the bar drinking margaritas. He was replaced by a woman who seemingly ceaselessly asked if we were enjoying our meal. We never got water. Uh... you know what, can I have another of those "Two X" beers you mentioned? Thanks.

We started with a round of Guacamole. It was small, but good. Speeds was pleasantly surprised, since apparently, the last time it was "oily and gross". I'd get this again. But that's where I'd draw the line. See, I ordered the Tacos de Carne Asada, a soft steak taco. On my first bite I pulled out a huge hair. And when I say huge, I mean it was easily a foot and a half long. I'm holding in a gag as I write this, no joke. So I sent it back and got a replacement. Well, I get it. Sometimes, fuckups happen and some long-haired cook forgets to put his hairnet on, shedding into the taco pan. But when they still charged me for it, I felt a little pissed. If anything deserved a comp, it was that. Especially since the replacement taco still tasted like shit with its raw radishes on top and doughy, disgusting taco shell. Inedible is the short description. I scraped what little meat there was between the three tacos and ate it with a fork. Speeds ordered the Taquitos Rancheros, a chicken taquito under a cream sauce with salsa. This bland, doughy dish, with its dry chicken filling that bordered on tasteless was scads better than my entree. And I felt jealous and picked at her plate.

I lost my receipts, but here's what each item roughly cost: fish tacos - $14; beef burrito - $12; guacamole - $9; beef soft taco - $13; taquitos - $9.

Like I said. There is no lack of Mexican restaurants in NYC. And because there is no lack, I can't think of a reason to settle for this one.

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