Things are heating up on Metropolitan Avenue, where a new Mexican place called Casa de Elian is serving “taco truck quality food (and as Chowhounds know, that is a compliment),” cmoore618 reports.

Roasted corn is generously buttered and seasoned with cilantro, chili powder, and Cotija cheese: “A squeeze of lime and I was in heaven,” cmoore writes. Also recommended: seafood or al pastor tacos; fresh, flavorful guacamole; chicken in a delicious, subtle mole; and chicken enchiladas in tomatillo sauce with a nice kick. The menu is brief for now, but the accommodating owner promises to expand it, probably with more seafood and vegetarian choices.

Just up the street, there’s a newish Latin steakhouse called Pampas Argentinas, and early word is mostly good. kenito799 says Pampas stacks up well against hound favorite La Porteña in Jackson Heights, especially for standard cuts like entraña (skirt steak) and asado de tira (ribs). In fact, he says, the ribs are better and meatier than Porteña’s, and the skirt steak is juicy, delicious, and agreeably charred at the edges. Chimichurri sauce hits the right notes, and dulce de leche crêpes are a fine way to finish up.

The newcomer falls short, kenito adds, with sweetbreads (chewy), pork sausage (dry and underseasoned), and blood sausage (larded up with chunks of fat). Overall, though, he finds Pampas a welcome addition to Metropolitan’s improving chow scene.

Casa de Elian [Forest Hills]
104-20 Metropolitan Avenue (near 72nd Avenue), Forest Hills, Queens
No phone available

Pampas Argentinas [Forest Hills]
105-07 Metropolitan Avenue (between 72nd Avenue and 72nd Road), Forest Hills, Queens
718-268-9606

Board Links: Casa de Elian—new Mexican on Metropolitan
Pampas Argentinas Forest Hills

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