Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Skinny's Cantina - Nothin' Skinny About It
The other week, I had the pleasure of attending LIC's Skinny's Cantina second grand opening party. Dan and I went to check it out, and needless to say, I was curious after reading about Bradley's enticing post about it in Boro Mag. Not only did we get to feast on a 3-course special menu, we also witnessed a lively burrito eating contest that got pretty colorful.
Skinny's, which is located right across the street from one my favorite Asian fusion restaurants, SHI is a lively, happening place. Even though its cuisine couldn't be more different than SHI's, it's evident that the place is owned by the same management, as you run into a similarly young, trendy clientele, hip staff, and loud pop music. Despite it being a little crazy, it's a lot of fun, especially on Saturday nights when people unwind more and let their hair down.
The bar is more of a scene, as people gather there, sippin' on margaritas or sangria while waiting to be seated. Actually some of the folks seemed to come by just to hang at the bar, which was cool on its own, and also a nice atmosphere to watch a sports game with its large LED TVs.
Given that I love the food at SHI, I had high expectations for Skinny's which delivered but overall still has a few kinks to work out. These will correct themselves in time, I think, as this place is still very much a newbie.
Apps - We ordered an app each, which came with the special menu and went for the guacamole and pico de gallo plate as well as the flautas stuffed with pork. Both were really delicious, and while the guac and pico veered on the side of standard, the flautas were clear stand-outs, wrapped in a crispy corn shell, stuffed with slightly spicy pork and then glazed with a spicy mayo sauce. I loved dipping these into the super creamy avocado sauce that came as a condiment, and it was the perfect way to start this meal. Dan agreed that the flautas were something special, and because the portion was large, it was great for sharing.
Entrees - Once again I think I had a winner on my hands with the roasted, sweet pork loin that was dressed in a squash reduction and a side of sliced roasted squash, further topped with pepitas. I loved the crispy haricot verts on top of the meat, and it also came with a side of fresh tortillas, which I used to make some mini pork tacos. The whole combination was very delicious, and something I'd like to have again.
Dan's entree was a trio of fish tacos, one incorporating fried snapper and the others with shrimp. I only tasted the shrimp, which was quite delicious and a little on the spicy side. The shrimp tasted fresh, presented in palatable bite-sized pieces.
Dessert - Even though I was pretty full by the time dessert came around, I simply couldn't refuse it. Our two choices included a tres leches cake with meringue on top and churros with chocolate and caramel sauce. Out of the two, I preferred the churros, not only because they're a classic Mexican dessert but also because they were wonderfully crunchy and the accompanying sauces were a little different than the norm. The chocolate sauce had a hint of cinnamon and spice to it, while the caramel sauce wasn't overly sweet and had a gorgeous silky texture.
Service and Cost:
I think the service was very efficient, but not overly charming. Overall, they were quite busy, running around left and right, but on the whole, I appreciated their speediness and attention to customers. There was also a burrito eating contest going on, as I mentioned, so needless to say, the staff was a bit tied up. To get a view of this crazy contest, see my video.
Costs are inexpensive for an upscale Mexican joint and include:
Apps - $7 - $13
Quesadillas - $10
Soups & Salads - $8 - $10
Tacos - $11
Burritos - $12 - $15
Skinny's Cantina - 47-05 Center Blvd, LIC NY 11101
7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue