From Per Se to Mamoun’s, Manhattan offers a culinary landscape the breadth of which is unmatched anywhere in the world. Whether its pierogis at 4:30 AM or a hamburger stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffles, this island has it all—except for Tex-Mex.
As a native Texan living in New York (a Tex-pat, if you will), there is absolutely nothing that I miss more than chile con queso, the zeitgeist of Tex-Mex cuisine. After all—is the world’s greatest food really too much to ask for in the world’s greatest city? Clearly Matt Post, a fellow Tex-pat, believes the answer to that question is no, because he responded to the sad dearth of Tex-Mex in New York City with the opening of Javelina, a Gramercy Park eatery specializing in the mouthwatering cuisine.
The menu features a number of different types of queso—all with the option of adding brisket, skirt steak, beef, chorizo, or carnitas—although a person would have to be crazy not to order the loaded “Bob Armstrong,” a succulent mix of queso, guacamole, ground beef, pico de gallo, and sour cream. Wash the queso down with a couple of unique Avocado and Cilantro Margaritas, and there’s really no need to order anything else; of course, everything is bigger in Texas (including our appetites), so in that spirit it would be a shame to miss out on the Brisket Tacos or the Parralladas Mixtas—a smorgasbord of steak, chicken, bacon-wrapped shrimp, carnitas, barbequed shrimp, and jalapeño sausage (with the option to add lobster tail or charred octopus, in case the already fully loaded plate isn’t enough). With a current ranking of numero uno on the Eater Heatmap, I recommend trying to score reservations at this meat-heavy Tex-Mex breath of fresh (with a hint of cilantro) air while you can.