Upper West Side Restaurant Review: Cocina Economica Mexico

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Appetizers at Cocina Economica Mexico (Photo: Eunice Choi/Serious Eats)

It’s been exactly four months since Cocina Economica Mexico opened at 452 Amsterdam (between 81st & 82nd) in the former Recipe space (same owners).

The crew from Serious Eats recently went to check it out and file a review.

You can find the full write-up and additional photos at SeriousEats.com. Here’s a snippet from near the beginning:

It’s a sit-down restaurant you can enjoy being in. Its menu goes way beyond tacos. It appreciates thoroughly Mexican ingredients and good technique, and it does so for about $20 a head. It isn’t a destination restaurant for Mexican cooking, but it’s the kind of fun place we may all—Sunset Park folks excepted, perhaps—wish we had in our own neighborhoods.

And later on, near the end:

Cocina Economica is not the house of affordable, expertly cooked, and wholly traditional Mexican cooking that New York needs more of. But it’s a fun place to eat, and a rewarding one too, a neighborhood spot to enjoy one imperfect bite at a time. On one visit, my dining companion interrupted our conversation to point out, matter of factly, beer in one hand and tortilla in the other, “You know, I’m having a great time here.”

In between those two paragraphs they discuss a variety of dishes, including ceviche, stewed short ribs, meatball and chorizo fondue, and both braised pork shoulder (the latter two are labeled “must-haves”). Definitely worth a read.

I was a big fan of Recipe and, while I’ve yet to try Cocina Economica, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it from readers (including specific comments about the aforementioned braised pork shoulder).

Owners David and Vanida Bank had a winning formula with Recipe and it seems to have carried over to its reincarnation as Cocina Economica.

The restaurant’s website is still a work in progress, but here’s the menu (click for full-size)

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