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Fiesta Mexicana (Jackson Heights) Rocks!

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Fiesta Mexicana (Jackson Heights) Rocks!

Jim Leff | Sep 1, 2004 06:35 PM

Fiesta Mexicana
75-02 Roosevelt Ave (right near the subway)
Jackson Heights
718-505-9090

I first read about this place here, and you guys were right. Mexican Fiesta is a Jackson Heights treasure. Local Mex just seems to get worse and worse. And while this is kind of an orange to the local apples (it's more upscale polished "cuisine" than the humbler fare which predominates in the nabe), it's a vastly better orange.

REALLY nice interior (one of the few "nice" places in the nabe). Like a tranquil oasis amid the Roos. Ave bustle

REALLY friendly, genuine, tranquil service

Prices are just a couple notches higher than at the mediocre snacky places

..and the food totally wails.

The tacitos de tinga are unbelievably moist (though not shamefully greasy) and flavorful. The guacamole is interesting - dry/chunky - and I could really develop a taste for it. The cochinita pibil is really succulent pork, served with a beautiful mound of rice mixed with black beans (little Cuban borrowing there). The red snapper is a whole fish, fresh and well-sauced (just $14), and the posole is the real serious stuff (you MUST ask the waiter for oregeno and chili powder to sprinkle in, however). Their "licuados" are really more like Caribbean batidos, thick rich shakes, and they're great.

I love the super-smooth green tomatilla sauce they serve with the chips. It's missing some spicy kick (if enough of us complain, they may lose their inhibitions), but it really captures the essence of the tomatillo. I need to work through more of the menu; everything has a really distinct flavor, so I'm really looking forward to mining more treasure. Everything's served with real flair, but it's prideful flair, not pretentious showing off. If you like La Flor (further up Roosevelt), this is what they're trying to do there, but these guys do it a LOT better, in my opinion.

Alas, the place is chronically empty. If we don't enjoy/support them, it sends a message to prospective restaurateurs that restaurants that try a little harder fail, and that only the sloppy shlock (which increasingly thrives in the nabe, across all ethnic groups) succeeds. I hope you'll all join me in voting with your feet (and stomachs). Hate to lose this one.

ciao

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