824 9th Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1001940.765938 -73.986919
Sat 10am-1am; Sun 10am-11pm
Neighborhoods: Clinton, Midtown
El Centro has a good variety on its menu, from tacos to seafood dishes, rooted in its Mexican/Latin concept. Despite the city's steady increase in mexican restaurants, El Centro is worth a visit for their outstanding cuisine and tempting margaritas. Popular dishes amongst customers include the posole and any version of chilaquiles with meat. The menu describes chilaquiles ($11 to $14) as a casserole, which is as good an English word as any for this dish centered around day-old tortilla chips that are cooked to an appetizingly tough-and-tender texture in a sauce like El Centro's salsa roja or the mole, and topped with avocado, cheese and more. As for those margaritas, El Centro has classic and frozen at the ready, as well as a few other notable drinks on Manhattan's Mexican drink menus: sangritas, micheladas and the like.
great neighborhood place – I'm the idiot who posted the last review about the ripoff because TD Bank told me that the charge on my account was El Centro, when it was in fact another bad mistake from TD Bank.
Moral of the story, don't bank at TD and eat at El Centro!
rip off! – I went to El Centro and the next day found out that I had been charged over $3,500 on my credit card for a $46 bill! When I called the restaurant Silvio said it would take a few days to "check it out" when I got furious and demanded that he fix it more quickly he refused to give me the corporate number and told me I would have to wait for a call back. Anyone can make a mistake but three and a half grand?
average.. – I have been here twice. The food is good but not worth the price. The service is slow and the waitstaff was incredibly rude.I wouldn?t recommend to anyone.
Saturday 11 October 2008 - Late Lunch - Opposite side of the room‎ – I went to El Centro this saturday (11 October 2008) for a late lunch with a friend, she knew that place and recommended it. I must say that the decoration is really loud, but this is how it is supposed to be, the food is good and prices quite reasonnable.
I felt like I was actually having my (late) lunch with a very pretty girl sitting opposite to me on the other side of the room. I couldn't resist letting her know that I appreciated her (somehow distant) company and expressed my liking. Although my intention was not to get any phone number, had it been given to me, I would have used it maybe for a (less distant) lunch at El Centro, or alternatively for dinner date in Paris, France. This idea still remains open.
(con tact would be : legalvince -at- aol -dot- com)
You'll Like If You've Never Had Real Mex – The location is fantastic and the decor is festive, so I really wanted to love this place but the food is average. I am from California and have grown up eating authentic Mexican, and this wasn't it. The chips and guac was sub-par, margaritas ok, and the tacos I had were pretty flavor-less. If I hadn't had such great Mexican food before, I would've liked it. At least it was cheap!
One of my favorites! Great margaritas and authentic Mexican food -- not Tex-Mex. – I live close by and was always intrigued by the crazy, quirky, colorful interior that is in such contrast to the somewhat harsh all-metal exterior. But then, a friend and I went for dinner and drinks, and we've been hooked ever since.
The house margaritas are made with good tequila and fresh lime juice on the rocks. I like the frozen ones because they are strong without tasting so. I try a different flavor each time. My current favorite is Guava.
You'll probably want to ask your waiter/waitress for help with the menu. Some items, like the chilaquiles, require explanation. And some things are not as you might expect. For example, the hard shell tacos are not something you'd eat with your hands. They all have some sort of sauce poured on top. My favorite is the fish taco, which has mashed potatoes inside (amazing!!!) and mole negro sauce on top.
I also recommend the pozole -- a sort of soup/stew. The chicken pozole reminds me of tortilla soup, but without the tortillas, with cooked hominy instead. The broth is spicy hot, and will clear another's sinuses!
The enchiladas are delicious. Chicken is my favorite. I substitute the green sauce for the one it usually comes with.
My favorite entree is the Steak Burro which is a giant burrito filled with grilled steak, rice, black beans and guacamole. It's the best burrito I've had anywhere in the city!
I've been generally very happy with the service. Everyone is very pleasant. Sometimes they are a little crazed when it's busy. It's an absolute zoo on Friday and Saturday nights. I love going on Sundays and Mondays when it's slower.
My only cons are: 1) sometimes the food is not very hot, 2) the quesadillas and empanadas are too small for the price, and 3) I don't care for any of the desserts. Otherwise, it's all thumbs up for this little gem. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
Pleasantly surprised! – I tried El Centro last night ago and thought it was great. Great food, great price, good service, nice atmosphere. Staff was pretty great and the menu has plenty to choose from. If you're looking for something less upscale than say Hell's Kitchen, but much much better than your average mexican place this is it . I have to say, I just love this place. I have yet to have a dish that I have found to be less than fantastic. The service is always excellent and friendly. It's the perfect place! Trust me, you will love it.
dirty,small and crowded place, with horrible service and management – server was so rude i almost got up and smacked him upside down. the manager was having shots by the bar with the rest of the staff, the bartender was a snotty skinny anorex looking. i mean why have such i cool place full of bad, very bad staff, to the owner a word of advice, CHANGE THE STAFF COMPLETELY.
Don't care about kids "8" years old, they only care about money. – I asked If I could bring my sun's happy meal for lunch and they said NO.The people are unpolite and they don't care about customers with kids.We will never go back again.
Brunch rocks, but Mexican it aint... – I've never actually had lunch or dinner at El Centro, so I can't tell you how authentic their food is. Let's be honest though, NYC simply doesn't have good Mexican food, so why waste your money on a $13 burrito? Instead, go for their very un-Mexican weekend brunch. Much like blondcookie82's review, I highly recommend the french toast or the Huevos Beneditos (eggs benedict, if you hadn't figured). Add a side of fries (a must-have) with a Limon Jarrito and your weekend should be off to a great start. Take note though, El Centro has exceptionally tacky decor (you'd have to see it to understand) and plastic chairs, so don't plan any first dates here... On the other hand, it's great for large groups of people. With great food, reasonable prices, and attentive service, El Centro's brunch is muy bueno, just not muy Mexicano...
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