móle

For a girl who doesn’t really like fish, I’m still surprised by how much I really like fish tacos. I crave them. I try to make them at home. When I’m traveling to Yuma, AZ for work, I will put off the 3 hour drive east to have a fish taco or two in San Diego. I LOVE fish tacos.

What I don’t like is Mexican food. Oh! Boo! Blasphemy! I must hate puppies and kittens and double rainbows! Let me be a bit more specific – I don’t like the version of Mexican food 90% of New York City restaurants serve. Too often, this city’s interpretation of Mexican is a tortilla and meat, and you’ll have to take the restaurant’s word it’s there because both are completely covered in a blanket of melted cheese. Throw some rice and beans on that plate and felicitaciones! You’ve got New York City Mexican fare. I love my cheese, but don’t use it as a cover up and call it Mexican.

I was coaxed into Móle, a Mexican restaurant in the West Village, with the promise of margaritas and fish tacos. Like bacon and eggs, peanut butter and jelly, loose leaf tea and Sunday morning – this is a heavenly combination. I was excited. I was ready.

image c/o Móle

I was disappointed.

I started to write down the details of my experience, but I’ve since changed my mind. You don’t need to read all the gory bits and bobs. If you’re craving good Mexican, this is not your place. The Michelada tasted like watery tomato sauce. Two of the items I wanted weren’t available that night, and I only found out after ordering – a huge inconvenience and disruption of the evening’s rhythm. The fish taco was made with flounder, which I dislike, so I ordered the tacos arrachera, filled with marinated and grilled skirt steak. It was flavorless and dry. The chicken had been pre-seasoned and pre-shredded, so there was no option for a 4-year-old who can’t handle spice, with the exception of a basic tortilla and cheese. In retrospect, she could have had my steak.

As we were paying the bill, I overheard our server at a neighboring table describing the evening’s specials, one of which was a seared ahi tuna taco. Where was this an hour ago?! Why didn’t he tell me? Was it something I said? “Oh, I’m sorry,” our server apologized, “but I only just found out about it. They don’t release the specials until 7pm. I mean, the kitchen knows what it will be way before, but they don’t tell us until 7.” What the WHAT? Why on earth is there a time restriction on this? Is it because my bedtime is way too early? Is it early bird discrimination? The server offered to get an order to go, but it was too little, too late by that point.

Tristate area diners, you can do much better than going to a place that has a copy of The Joy of Cooking proudly displayed over their register. I doubt Irma and Marion were the types to toss back a few shots of tequila before pressing their tortillas. I don’t understand how an establishment such as this even qualifies to be in Zagat when other, more established and authentic restaurants have been left out. But what do I know?

Irma S. Rombauer & Marion Rombauer Becker (image c/o The New York Times)

Mole has multiple locations throughout Manhattan, but this particular site was located on the corner of Jane & Hudson. Go for margaritas and guacamole in their outdoor cafe. If that.

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