Brought to you by the same people behind Cafe Henri (excellent crepes) is Casa Enrique 5-48 49th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101, a Mexican restaurant that features food of the Chiapas region.  After two visits, despite some service snafus, Casa Enrique competes with  John Brown Smokehouse 10-43 44th Drive, Long Island City, NY 11101 for best Long Island City restaurant. These are the only two restaurants I would currently call destination restaurants. You should hop on the train out of Manhattan (it’s really so close) to come enjoy Casa Enrique. While they have tacos, which you’ve seen and eaten, they also have some dishes you won’t find at every Mexican restaurant.

There is only one salad on the menu and you should order it. The beets, which are raw, and jicama are crisp and crunchy, a very refreshing dish especially with the bright fresh mint.
Beet and Jicama Salad

The guacamole is fresh and well balanced, competing with any you’d find in the city. Even better, they are served with warm tortilla chips.


The Rajas con Crema is a nice side of roasted poblanos, cream, and corn. It’s a comforting and flavorful mixture to have on some warm tortillas. It’s a side dish worth getting unless you’re already ordering the skirt steak. It comes with that which the waitress failed to mention and I think they should.
Rajas Con Crema

They have a nice list of tacos, the lengua (tongue) and pastor (pork) are our favorite because of how tender and moist the meat is. The chicken taco was pretty dry.

Lengua Taco

The tostada de Jaiba has nice chunks of crab and avocado and is one of the lighter dishes on the menu. The first time we got this, it was near perfect but the second time, a little heavy on the lime.

Tostadas de Jaiba

The Sopes de Chorizo is one of my favorites. A thin masa disc is spread with black bean, then a crumble of chorizo, chunks of avocado, a white sauce, and shredded lettuce. Each of the three pieces is roughly two-bite sized.

Sopes de Chorizo

The lightest main course is the market fish (this time sea bass), served with a corn esquite. The highlight is the nicely crisped skin of the perfectly cooked fish.

Sea bass, corn esquite

The rest is rich, comforting, and very saucy. The Chicken Mole is the best I’ve had with such a complex wealth of flavors. The sauce is thick and pungent and given in a generous portion. Take the extra home and you could cover another whole piece of meat.

Mole de Piaxtla

The Braised Lamb Shank with Chili Pulla was unique to me. I don’t think I ever had a lamb shank at a Mexican restaurant before. They also do a nice job with the rice and beans here. The rice is very fluffy and the beans are left with some bite.

Lamb Shank braised in Chili Pulla

They also have a good Carne Asada for the less adventurous. They cooked it medium-rare, as asked, and the marinate keeps it moist with a nice acidity.

Carne Asada

These guys really know how to work the flavors of a variety of peppers. From the complimentary salsas (three of varying heat levels) to the mole sauce, lamb shank, etc., we were impressed with the depth of flavor and their ability to bring out that berry-ness and aroma.


The place is decent looking, not exciting, and I can only really describe it as blank white. However, there isn’t much great food in Long Island City yet so that makes this find very exciting to me.

*Update 9/27/14 They’ve added an outdoor space and we’ve since had very good brunch there too.

posted by jessica at 11:16 AM Filed under Latin, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.