Cozymels review

A Cozymels combination plate with three tacos --

A Cozymels combination plate with three tacos -- a shrimp taco in a house-made flour tortilla, a pork taco in a soft corn tortilla and a guajillo chicken taco. (Oct. 2, 2012) (Credit: Jeremy Bales)

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Cozymels serves up Mexican cuisine in Westbury. (Oct.

1177 Corporate Dr. Westbury, NY 11590-6614

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Cozymels description At the sprawling and colorful Westbury branch of this small Mexican chain, flour tortillas are ... More »

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At the sprawling and colorful Westbury branch of this small Mexican chain, flour tortillas are made in-house, sauces prepared from scratch -- right down to the roasting of fresh chili peppers. No question, Cozymels aims for authenticity and quality. The place succeeds some days more than others.

One evening, the open kitchen is slow but ultimately comes across. House chicken soup, a full-flavored broth with poultry pieces, rice, avocado, corn, pico de gallo, lime and tortilla chips, is a rainbow of colors, flavors and textures. Textbook sizzling chicken fajitas feature moist, smoky breast meat, onions, peppers and bright guacamole and pico de gallo, to be rolled into the wholesome-tasting flour tortillas. A trio of "signature" tacos -- pork carnitas, guajillo chicken as well as shrimp -- hits the trifecta.

A week later, though, another taco grouping doesn't fare as well. Best is the carne asada, grilled steak with avocado relish. But fish tacos harbor tired-tasting, squished-looking fried cod. And brisket tacos are dry.

Better is a vibrant appetizer assortment comprising chicken nachos, meltingly good spinach and mushroom quesadillas, crisp chicken flautas. A crock of warm queso blanco, Mexico's answer to cheese fondue, proves an ideal accompaniment for nachos and Cozymels' killer frozen margarita and fruit-filled sangria.

An entree of pork rostisado is a juicy take on pulled pork, served with a spicy green tomatillo sauce. Chipotle honey salmon: great flavor but too much time spent on the fire.

Finales are a fiesta. There's opulent orange flan, rich and dense as cheesecake. And a banana napoleon that layers crisp fried cinnamon buñuelos with creamy banana pudding, fresh bananas and brandy cream sauce. Real whipped cream is a plus.

So, too, the positive attitude here. When the wait between courses lags, a manager notices and offers dessert on the house as well as a coupon for a future visit. When you leave a place feeling cared for, chances are, you'll want to return.

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