Sunday, May 30, 2010

Creek & Cave - A Tasty, Upbeat Underworld

Creek & Cave - 10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City NY 11101
7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue

At last I've had the pleasure of trying the casual LIC Mexican eatery, Creek & Cave. It's been on my must-try list for a while, and last week's Groupon offer for $20 worth of food & drink for $10 made me go.  The whole deal worked out quite nicely because I had a $10 Groupon credit, so I was able to get it for free, which is even better.  But even if that wasn't the case, I would gladly come back again and support this great business.

Creek's set-up is really unique.  The upstairs serves as a restaurant - a simple dining room with wooden chairs and tables, exposed brick walls, funky street art and paper lanterns that give it a slightly Ikea-esque feel.  But besides this room, there's also a private theater one level below, where independent artists take over the space for special performances throughout the week.  There's something going on here every day, and besides the theater, the "cave" (also downstairs) serves as another performance space for live music acts.  It's a great idea and we love the creativity it fosters - not to mention the yummy food and drinks it supplies.


The style of food you can expect here is Mexican.  I love that each dish is devised with respect for ingredients - the proteins are carefully marinated in natural sauces of fresh fruits and vegetables, the chips are hand cut and healthy sides as well as vegetarian options are available.  We both went for the taco platter, as it allowed us to try a variety of meats all in one plate.

Taco Al Carbon Platter - We were both hungry so when this large platter of goodness arrived, we couldn't wait to dig in.  It consisted of three tacos of our choice with a side of white or brown rice and black beans.  You can choose pinto beans too but we preferred black, as I think they're more flavorful.

I chose the grilled chicken, slow roasted pork and veggie taco, while Dan also tried the seafood taco and the Gringo, which was basically your traditional hard shelled taco with ground beef.  It reminded me of the tacos of my childhood, and it brought back fond memories.

Out of all of those varieties, the seafood taco was hands-down the best.  You can choose either grilled or beer battered shrimp or fish, which comes with cabbage salsa and wasabi sauce. I thought the fixins were especially interesting, and quite unusual for a Mexican place.  Dan chose the beer battered shrimp and we were both obsessed with it.  They looked like little popcorn shrimp with a light, crispy coating that was so pillowy and soft once you bit into it.  The wasabi sauce was just perfect, giving you that little zing at the last bite that made this dish memorable.

My other close second was the slow roasted pork, which was marinated in pineapple salsa, so needless to say, it was slightly sweet and very delicious.  The chicken and the veggie options were less impressive.

Hand-Cut Chips - The "bread" course at Creek that comes before your main meal sure hit the spot.  You can tell that the chips are homemade, by their irregular shape, which makes them more endearing.  I enjoyed the spicy salsa that came with it and its sharp flavors brought our tastebuds to attention before we dug into our tacos.

Service and Cost:
We couldnt've asked for a better server.  He was all things excellent, including knowledgeable about the food and its preparation, quick with service as well as friendly and hospitable.  I loved the casual yet all inclusive service we received and just by looking around the room, I think everyone seemed pretty content.

Costs are inexpensive and include the following:

Starters - $4.95 - $8.95
Burritos - $6.95 - $10.95
Tacos - $3.00 - $3.95
Burgers - $7.95 - $9.95

Entrees - $9.50 -$12.95

3 Mmmms

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