Most of us know Cinco de Mayo as the day to hit up Mexican restaurants and enjoy Margaritas. Perhaps that is why Time named it the #4 drunkest holiday. Most people also assume that it is Mexican Independence day. It’s not. Cinco de Mayo commemorates El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, when the Mexican army defeated the French at Puebla. In Mexico, it’s only celebrated in Puebla. Either way, it gives me an excuse to get some really good Mexican. May I suggest the following restaurants:
40/40 Club: When people think of the 40/40, they think of Jay Z, Beyonce, and sports. They should also start thinking food. Chef Mike Shand started off as Jay Z’s private chef in early 2010. Mr. Z felt so strongly about Shand that in December of 2011 he became Executive Chef of The 40/40 Club. This means that you too can eat like Jay Z. The club recently reopened (they spent about 10 million), and the focus is on food. This Cinco de Mayo, Chef Shand will be dishing up a flame grilled tequila chicken breast with hot corn and jalapeno salsa, with black beans and rice ($24). The 40/40 is located at 6 West 25th Street in New York’s Flatiron District. For reservations and details call (212) 832-4040.
Flex Mussels: Flex your tequila muscles with FM’s #23 Fiesta Mussels and off-the-menu Margarita Drunken Donuts. What are Fiesta Mussels? They’re marinated in a broth of tequila and balanced with a hint of lime and a subtle kick of jalapeño and serrano peppers ($23). What are Drunken Doughnuts? Flex Mussels has infused their signature dessert with a margarita custard. What do I have to say? TEQUILA! For details call (212) 229-0222.
Haru Sushi: We don’t all feel like having Mexican on Cinco. If you fit into this category, head to one of Haru’s participating locations (Gramercy Park, Wall Street, Broadway, and Sake Bar). You can enjoy your sushi and wash it down with Haru’s Patron Green Tea Margarita (If you click the link…you’ll get to the recipe).
Hecho En Dumbo: Chef Danny Mena is paying homage to Puebla. Mena will be featuring Las Monjas de Santa Rosa, and Las Monjas de Santa Mónica. These sauces will be the protagonists at HED’s special brunch and dinner selections for Cinco De Mayo. What’s the catch? You must get to HED on May 5th from 11:30am-12am. Hecho en Dumbo operates on a first come, first served basis and does not accept reservations, so get there early. HED is located at 354 Bowery. For details call (212) 937-4245.
Maya: Their Mexican Hard Hat Prix Fixe costs $50 (not bad for 150 years of Cinco de Mayo). The meal will start off with a “Plato Botanero” (assorted appetizers), an entree, and, of course, dessert. Better still, Maya will have live Mariachis from 6-10pm, doors will open at 3pm at the Tequila Bar with handcrafted margaritas and small plates. Maya is located on the Upper East Side at 1191 1st Ave. For details and reservations call (212) 585-1818
Pampano: Pampano is one of those restaurants where you get to taste real (and real good) Mexican food. This Cinco de Mayo, Pampano is offering a $50 tasting menu ($75 if you want cocktails/wine). The menu includes a trio of ceviches, shrimp consomme, and a gorgeous monk fish. I’m a huge fan and you won’t be disappointed. Pampano is located at 209 East 49th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. For reservations and details call (212) 751-4545
Tequa: On Cinco de Mayo it goes beyond food. Tequa will throw an all day party with a live DJ and special guest DJ. They will serve a prix-fixe menu along with open bar (TEQUILA). Seatings will be at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm for $100 and 8pm for $125. The price includes two hours of open bar. The menu includes chips & salsa, guacamole, quesadillas, “Tuna on Crack”, their border chopped salad, a selection of 4 different tacos for the table, and more. Tequa is located at 447 3rd Avenue in the Kipps Bay neighborhood of New York For details and reservations call (212) 213-3223