To this day, I have not fully understood the appeal of the Meatpacking district, but I have succumbed to it’s allure on more than one occasion. The twinkly lights and muffled beats coming from the clubs…the proximity to wealth and beauty…I don’t know what it is, but it sure as shit isn’t the cobblestones. Stow those heels, because you’ll probably break an ankle.
With flats on my feet and no food in my stomach, I made the trip down to the old Abe & Arthur space to try out La Cenita – another addition to the EMM Group of restaurants (Catch, Revel). The menu looked amazing, and sometimes you need a margarita or two…on a Tuesday. Don’t judge me. Britt and I started out with the guacamole, which was different than any other I’ve had, topped with chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds. I know it sounds unconventional, but it added a nice crunchy texture while the chips were hot out of the fryer and served in a paper bag. Perfect.
La Cenita boasts itself as a tapas style restaurant, meaning the portions are small and meant to be shared. We ordered the corn, goat cheese crepes, short rib tacos, and duck enchiladas. I’ll save the duck enchiladas for last, but let me point out that those are entree-sized, whereas everything else was small; don’t be fooled though – size isn’t everything, especially when it comes to flavorful food like this. The Esquites (roasted corn, cotija cheese) was served in a bowl and cut off the cob. SO CLUTCH. I love Mexican corn (think La Esquina-style), but having to floss immediately after is always annoying. This cut out the middle man and it was creamy and delicious. Must. Order.
Good thing Brittny wanted to try the goat cheese crepes, because I don’t think that would have been my first choice, but they were AWESOME. Soft crepes stuffed with goat cheese are swimming in a poblano chile and cumin scented sauce with ranchero salsa. I don’t know if I’m doing these justice with my pics, but they were great and deserve much praise.
Here’s my one gripe with most Mexican places in the city: teeny, tiny tacos. WHY SO SMALL?! I don’t get this trend, but I would enjoy a taco that’s better suited for me as opposed to…My Little Pony? Regardless, the short rib tacos at La Cenita were delicious, I just wish they were more appropriately sized for those with a large appetite. But hey, it’s tapas right? No one says you can’t order double…
Lastly, the duck enchiladas. I am so glad I went with these instead of the wagyu tacos (though I’m sure those are good too). Two huge tortillas stuffed with shredded, tender, perfectly seasoned duck, then covered in ranchero salsa (like the goat cheese crepes) and chihuahua cheese. Oh. My. Goodness. I am normally not a fan of enchiladas, but these were SO good. I would 100% order them again, and the portion was so large I took half home and had the rest the next day as a hangover snack – so they reheat well too! Win win for everyone.
We were pretty damn full by this point, but the waitress and manager, Roxy, highly recommended the S’mores Empanada. I normally stay traditional and go with churros, but I’ve had those so many times before…why not go outside the box? Good thing we did because this thing was…unreal. I am having trouble finding the words. And I’m a writer. Crispy, perfectly fried golden shell gets cut open with a pizza cutter (you need to do this part, so be careful and/or not too drunk), and inside is gooey marshmallow, and semi-sweet chocolate oozing out. As if this wasn’t enough of an orgasm, they serve it to you with graham cracker ice cream and chocolate chips sprinkled all over. I can’t. Someone save me from myself…
409 West 14th St (btwn 9th and Washington)
Website: La Cenita