I believe it was Samuel Johnson who never said, "Depend upon it, sir, none but the foolish or desperate would venture into a restaurant on its opening night." But in Prospect Lefferts, many of us are desperate for convivial restaurants with tables and silverware, and so it was that Cafe Enduro (51 Lincoln Place, next to the Q subway station and KDog & Dunebuggy, open 11-11 for lunch & dinner, no reservations taken at the moment) was full by 7pm.
The history of the venue has been reported elsewhere (http://www.planetplg.com/51lincoln.htm); suffice it to say that the owner, Jim Mamary, was in fact last night's maitre d'. The room is cheerful and small (meaning that it doesn't take many folks to make the joint jump); even more ausiciously, it has a bar against one wall and a fireplace on the other. Put it all together, and you have an exceptionially inviting space--especially by PLG standards.
The crowd was as mixed as the neighborhood; some families, some older residents, several groups of neighbors, some Gen X & Y Ocean Ave types, and yes--black + white, caribbean + yankee. Service: attentive and blazingly fast (OK, they probably wanted to turn over the tables, but there was no hassle for folks who wanted to linger and frankly, we wanted to get the 7 year old home).
And the food? Mexican, with a much fuller menu than Pacifico. Same deal: no combination plates; you order enchiladas or quesadillas or tacos and then rice and beans or platanos as sides. Prices v. reasonable. I don't recall anything over $15; standard mexican fare like enchiladas ran from $8-10, plus sides at $2 a pop. Entrees ran the $11-14 range. Margaritas start at $6 (though the bartender only charged me $5, and they were potent! An opening night special???); beer at $4/5, etc. If you order the special Guacamole at $10, you get a whole molcajete full.
I had the green pork enchiladas with refried pintos & yellow rice. The S.O. had the salmon; the 7 year old just rice and beans because that's how he rolls. And was it good? Sure. Was it great? That is so not the point right now. It was more than good enough for us to keep coming back; whoever's in the kitchen is clearly trying to do more than standard Tex-Med roadhouse fare (all kinds of interesting spicing in the guacamole, for instance; and the green pork was surprisingly subtle). And with luck, it will not only get better but (unlike Pacifico--are you reading this Jim?) stay better.
For now, though, it's enough that there's a welcoming place with a diverse, tasty menu that we can stroll into on the spur of the moment. This could be huge...
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