Cilantro Mexican Inspired Food review
376 New York Ave. Huntington, NY 11743
Cilantro Mexican Inspired Food description Located in Huntington, this Tex-Mex eatery unfolds much like an assembly line. With choices of ... More »
Related mediaCilantro Mexican Inspired Food 25 Cheap Eats to try on LI 114 new restaurants on LI The 10 best dishes on LI in 2013 25 fine dining reviews, from Italian to sushi 50 recent restaurant closures on LI
Cilantro Mexican Inspired Food, which launched in Northport last year, now has a new Huntington offshoot. Although the first branch got off to a shaky start, owner Artie Berke recalibrated, getting rid of the restaurant's microwave and bringing in executive chef, Christian Velasco.
While Berke has set up both Tex-Mex eateries in a fashion resembling the Chipotle Mexican Grill chain, things may not move along at the same assembly-line pace. Blame tighter quarters and a small crew at both places. Here, you step up to the counter and choose either a taco, burrito, tortilla-free burrito bowl, fajita burrito (rice-free, pepper-and-onion-filled), loaded nachos or a salad. Then, select the components -- proteins, fresh salsas and other toppings.
Convection ovens now equip both restaurants, which means Velasco oven-roasts chicken thighs resulting in juicy, boldly seasoned nuggets of poultry -- a vast improvement over the dry, grilled breasts originally used in Northport.
At that location, one night, chicken is the protein of choice in a soft corn taco topped with bright tomato salsa fresca, roasted chili-corn salsa and chopped cilantro. Two more tacos, stuffed, respectively, with ancho chili beef and marinated steak, have good flavor, although the meat is a trifle dry. Salsa mitigates that somewhat. So, too, does guacamole, which costs $3 extra. In Huntington another evening, chicken works beautifully inside a crisp, melty quesadilla, ordered with a feisty mango salsa and crimson pickled onions. With their eye-opening citrus kick, these onions belong on top of most dishes.
They're ideal on a salad ordered with softly shredded sweet chipotle pork, which successfully juxtaposes heat and sweetness. Pork plays well in a burrito "bowl" with brown rice and black beans.
While Cilantro offers three types of chili, the most resonant is beef. Try it in a bowl, or tucked inside a burrito with rice, beans, salsas and condiments. In the end, it's all about mixing, matching, choosing.
When it comes to choosing a location, know that while Huntington is a bit bigger and brighter than Northport, neither locale has a lot of seats. But there's always takeout or delivery.