Tex Mex is having a moment in NYC. It’s been much maligned in favor of “authentic” Mexican food, but who’s to say that Tex-Mex isn’t authentic to America? If vats of melted cheese, piles of soft flour tortillas laden with refried beans, and frosty glasses filled with sour-sweet margaritas appeal to you, you have to head to Javelina immediately. And if they don’t appeal to you, check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive.

Tex Mex in Gramercy

Javelina is a small restaurant making big waves in Gramercy. Get a reservation because this place is hopping every night of the week. The space is small and colorful with geometric patterns, a small bar, and enough tables to make you feel cozy with your neighbor. This is a great space for dinner with friends or family as long as you don’t mind the din – the vibe is more fun, less romantic.

What you should be eating at Javelina

Bob Armstrong Queso – because if you’re going to harden your arteries, you might as well do it in the most delicious way, right? Get this white (sharper cheese) or yellow (more traditional) and it comes loaded with ground beef, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream. It’s creamy, bubbly-hot, and laced with gastronomic treasures. What, you don’t consider cool pockets of sour cream, fresh pico de gallo, and juicy ground beef treasures? Here, they are. Be sure to spike it with some of the excellent complimentary house made salsa.

San Antonio Puffy Tacos – with pork shoulder, pickled red onions, cotija cheese, and cilantro. These tacos are hard to find in this part of the country and no visit to Javelina is complete without ordering them. Corn tortillas are fried until they are puffed, crispy, and airy. They house tender, juicy pork that has a zesty, garlicky kick but isn’t lip-searingly spicy. The pickled red onions add a tart, vinegary lift to an otherwise heavy dish, and the portion is perfect to share as an appetizer with one other person.

Enchiladas de Tejas – with cheese, onions, red chile gravy, chile con carne, and jalapenos. Comfort on a plate. Soft enchiladas smothered in cheese and a faintly spicy chile con carne and red chile mashup. The jalapenos add just enough spice for chile heads to request an extra side of them – they are house pickled and addictive. This comes with rice and beans – be sure to get the refried beans for the ultimate indulgence.

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Javelina is well priced with a hip vibe and some of the finest Tex Mex this side of the Rio Grande. Just bring your spandex pants and leave the calorie counter at home. It’s queso time.

Javelina – Website
119 East 18th Street, New York, NY

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Sarah is a writer, editor, and social media manager. She loves seared foie gras at Michelin starred restaurants, Chili-Cheese Fritos from dirty bodegas, and watches"Orphan Black" like it's her religion.