Usually, I’d probably rather poke my eye out than eat another typical Mexican [fill in the blank – taco, burrito, enchilada..]. But the more I started looking into this La Gringa, a Mexican restaurant in Queens, the more I realized this Rego Park local business is anything but typical.
If you’re not familiar with the neighborhood, Rego Park is named after a construction company that developed the area in the 20’s. Built on top of what used to be swampland (insert bad real estate joke,) it’s the fictional home of television shows, King of Queens and even that 70’s show, All in the Family. Over the years it’s earned a reputation for being a melting pot – especially for Russian immigrants, giving it a “former Soviet Union” feel. But more recently city folks looking for better deals on housing have started to settle here. With an easy subway commute to Manhattan and good access to highways, part of Rego Park’s appeal lies with the types of shops and restaurants that draw the likes of the more expensive Queens neighborhoods like Astoria. As I’ve mentioned before, living in East Los Angeles has given me a better appreciation of real mexican food – not the run of the mill Taco Bell stuff or suburban chain fare like Chi Chi’s. No, I’m talking about the stuff of fond memories from that time in Cancun or Baja. Checking out the Yelp reviews, I both wondered why this Queens Mexican restaurant didn’t get more attention and quickly realized that there’s quite a few places fighting for your attention. One signature dish is their elote appetizer. This is their spin on the traditional Mexican street corn. You get it in a glass like a “food margarita,” where the rim of the glass has been dusted with red chili.
The sweet, grilled corn itself is blended with Mexican crema and salty cotija cheese on top. By itself this sweet, savory, tangy dish is a nice teaser for your taste buds, but you can also add it to your other dishes.
Speaking of which, there are both the usual suspects – tacos, burritos, relleno’s – as well as a few originals like a elote soup or interesting salads. Their mole’s may be the hidden gem that you won’t to miss. So next time you’re in Queens looking for some decent Mexican food, give La Gringa a shot. Besides their regular dining area La Gringa takes reservations and offers catering – as well as a party room for special occasions. You can order online and get more info at their website – La Gringa Bar & Grill They’re located at 63-34 Woodhaven Blvd, Rego Park, NY 11374 and open Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 10:30 pm and on weekends Fri – Sun 12 noon to 11 pm.