Saturday, July 19, 2014
Chela & Garnacha Knocks it Out of the Park
On Thursday, after Dan and I spent an awesome evening at the Museum of Moving Image seeing the brand new Chuck Jones, What's Up Doc? exhibit we also headed to the new Chela & Garnacha Mexican joint for some eats. The exhibit was a lot of fun and the overall evening a big success, but it left us feeling hungry, so we stopped in for some impromptu eats.
Known for being the restaurant location of the popular Mexico Blvd food truck, Chela & Garnacha is situated on 36th Avenue and 34th St right next to Arepas Cafe. In truth, we were actually headed to the latter but spotted Chela quicker and it drew us in. The colors and the cheery decor is in itself attractive, as it consists of rustic touches such as a reclaimed wooden wall, little cupboards with greenery inside and the bright green tables you can see bits of above. Menus are printed on recycled paper and the place has an overall eco-friendly vibe that goes well with the simple, rustic yet authentic food from their kitchen.
Although the menu is limited, it makes your decision an easy one. The few items to choose from include tacos, quesadillas, flautas and various appetizers. Dan zeroed in on the tacos immediately while I went with the more inventive route and got the intrincadas.
Intrincadas - Even though I was unfamiliar with these, I was drawn to the ingredients, which included crispy massa patties with guacamole, chipotle sauce, crema and shredded chicken. They reminded me of the huaraches from La Condesa I had in Austin back in the winter. Not only were these hearty and a little bit indulgent because they were fried, the ingredients on top, including the shredded white meat chicken felt light and fresh. Since the portion is quite big, it's great to share with your dining compadre.
Tacos -Dan went with the Al Pastor and the fish tacos, which are his favorites in any taqueria. We compared them with the tacos we had just the night before from the Tacos Jalisco truck and while the Al Pastor was super flavorful -the pork tender and a little smoky - the fish tacos weren't as tasty as from the food truck. I personally wished there was more fish vs. some of the fixins such as the slaw.
Service and Cost:
The service at Chela & Garnacha couldn't be better. Our waitress was friendly and struck up a genuine conversation with us. She quickly informed us about the BYOB factor, which we loved and even offered us some limes for the Coronas we brought in.
Costs are reasonable, especially due to the BYOB option and set us back about $24 total, including tax and tip.
Chela & Garnacha - 33-09 36th Avenue, Astoria NY 11106
N/Q Train to 36th Avenue