If you're ever in the mood for authentic Mexican food on the Upper West Side, you'll know the search is over when you step into Jalapeno, a small, neighborhood restaurant that's big on flavor. So check your trepidation at the door, and experience distinctive dishes that are bound to persist anytime you're hankering for your next South-of-the-Border fix.
Mexico is known for its robust and bold flavors, endless forms of preparation, and dishes bursting with color, and Jalapeno offers all that and so much more thanks to Executive Chef Jorge Romero, a tried and true culinary artisan, who hails from Morellos, Mexico.
What makes the food here so good? Time-honored traditions, quality ingredients and well-balanced spices and seasonings are just a few of the things that make this culinary experience standout. Add to that friendly service, and you've already got a winning recipe that keeps diners coming back for more.
Jalapeno gets it... Most of the time, you're starving before you, friends and family can decide on a place to eat. Here, the moment you're seated, a basket of homemade tortilla chips and two dipping sauces, one fiery, and one smokey and mild, are delivered to your table. Famished patrons and families with kids can definitely appreciate the presence of these complimentary snackables as they're pressed to make selections off Japaleno's extensive menu.
Now, that you've partially quelled the rumblings of your stomach, it's time for starters, and you can't go wrong with the homemade guacamole, featuring ripe avocados, fresh lime juice, cilantro, chopped tomatoes and a subtle, pleasant kick of jalapeno peppers. (It's so good that you'll practically scrape the bowl clean). Pair it with a glass (or two) of the citrusy house sangria or a classic margarita, and you're off to a pretty sweet beginning.
The hardest part... choosing the entree. There are so many great options on the menu, running the gamut from light and healthy vegetarian to full-on, carnivore. You can't go wrong with the "Betabel Salad," featuring roasted beets, goat cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds and a cool, basil mint dressing. The combination of the sweet and savory flavors, accented by a smoky-cool accompaniment makes this a refreshingly memorable salad that's accessible yet exciting to the palate.
For meat lovers, no question, it's all about the burritos. These generously stuffed behemoths are loaded with white rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, pico and guacamole, tightly wrapped in your choice of a white flour or a whole wheat tortilla, topped with a dollop of sour cream and mixed organic greens. These burritos are the real deal: they're meaty, smokey, perfectly seasoned and satisfying, and once again, you'll be pressed not to lick your plate clean. Particularly worth mentioning are the "Chicken Adobo" and "Chicken Mole" burritos, and the ever popular, "Mega" or "everything" burrito. The tacos here are equally, if not sinfully good, and outstrip anything you've had from a food truck. The only problem? Jalapeno has so many great dishes on its menu that one visit, simply can't do it justice.
So kick back and enjoy a leisurely meal, excellent service, a cool and mellow ambiance as you make plans for your next trip to Jalapeno. Who knows? This time you may actually leave room for desserts like the "Patron Flan" and "Tres Leches." At Jalapeno, one thing's for sure: the smiling patrons and the consistently great food, signal that tradition never really goes out of style.