2016-06-01 / Dining Review

El Coyote

Anytime is the right time for a visit to El Coyote, perched above Austin Street in Forest Hills. On perhaps the first summery evening of the season, we dined al fresco on the covered terrace overlooking the bustle of Austin Street below. We sat among families with well-behaved children, friends, and couples, all of whom came to enjoy El Coyote’s classic Mexican fare and their awesome Margaritas, served in countless variations. Owner Carlos Axilote has years of success with his other three locations in Jackson Heights (Northern Blvd.) and Connecticut. The winning combination of a warm, festive décor, a lively bar with hand mixed margaritas and Happy Hours, and great, authentic Mexican cuisine, make El Coyote El Numero Uno for everyone.

We’re in the full swing of graduation season and there’s still time to book your grad’s celebratory lunch or dinner with catering packages for 12 or more guests that start at just $18.95 per person. El Coyote is synonymous with Happy Hour, offered Monday to Wednesday all day long, Thursdays from 4-8pm at the bar only, and Friday to Sunday from 2-6pm at the bar. With $4 margaritas, sangria, beer, wine and small bites to go with them including 50-cent wings and $2 appetizers, no wonder everyone is happy here!

Relax in the breeze or in the dining room and drool as the expert wait staff prepares some of El Coyote’s guacamole table-side, made to order. This creamy, chunky guacamole went very well with the ‘Lime Boat’ Margarita made from freshly squeezed limes, adorned with a lime rind and a little Mexican flag. The coyoterita, another house specialty is made with fine Patron tequila and fresh lime juice. Fruit daiquiris made with mango, banana, peach, and tamarind are popular, as are the mojitos, wines and Mexican beers.

Start with fresh, summery appetizers such as the stuffed avocado half filled with a flavorful combination of crab meat and shrimp. Ceviche is a cold seafood salad combining shrimp and white fish marinated in fresh squeezed lime juice, red onion, and aromatic cilantro. The quesadillas are made from light, fluffy, flour tortillas filled with your choice of cheese, chicken, or steak and the mini empanadas are great at the bar or at the table. Queso fundido is melted Mexican cheese with crumbled chorizo sausage and Poblano peppers for a unique dish, scooped up with tortilla chips ($8.95). The appetizers are perfectly portioned for sharing, sampling, and accompanying yet more margaritas.

You can taste the quality ingredients that El Coyote incorporates into each hand made dish, prepared to order, so a little wait is swiftly rewarded. They offer both traditional Mexican fare and Southwest fare, so there’s something for everyone. Chiles rellenos, or stuffed, roasted Poblano peppers are filled with tender, shredded chicken, cheese, shrimp, or beef and all dishes are mildly seasoned, unless you request them hot. Coyote’s fajitas are one of the most popular dishes, served sizzling with steak, shrimp, chicken or vegetables and a stack of warm, flour tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo ($14.95 and up). If you can’t decide between an enchilada, burrito, or taco, simply order a Combo Mexicano and have one of each, done the traditional way. If you want to try something truly unique and delicious, I recommend the Cochinita Pibil a traditional dish of slow-roasted, shredded pork loin that’s been rubbed with achiote, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked until fork-tender and so succulent. It’s also beautifully presented with hearts of palm and roasted onion ($14.95) and served with rice and beans or tostones.

Bring on the meat with the churrasco, a sizzling hot skirt steak marinated with fresh herbs and grilled to your liking, accompanied by aromatic chimmichurri sauce ($21.95). Braised pork shank called Mixiote Poblano is another succulent dish as is the Carnitas de Puerco; chunks of pork shoulder slow-cooked in orange juice, served with Mole poblano sauce, adobo, or green tomatillo sauce.

There are plenty of fish and seafood dishes such as Atlantic salmon marinated in citrus juices and spices, red snapper filet with garlic and white wine, and jumbo shrimp al ajillo bursting with garlic and herbs. Fresh filet of red snapper is prepared Vera Cruz style with light tomato sauce, onions, garlic and a shot of tequila. Paella el Coyote is a delicious mix of seafood, chicken, and chorizo sausage cooked in a casserole requiring about a half hour, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy your appetizers and did I mention the margaritas??

Cool it down and sweeten your palate with dessert where you’ll choose among cool, creamy, coconut flan, tres leches cake, bananas sautéed with sugar and brandy, bread pudding, and fried ice cream in a cinnamon scented crust. The coffee is excellent too and we were treated to an after dinner hot, spiced wine to finish the meal…a nice touch.

El Coyote has Lunch specials starting at $4-$7.95. Add a glass of sangria and the lunch special costs just $11. There is a festive Brunch on Saturday and Sunday where you can have grilled steak and eggs, crab cake sandwiches, traditional pork stew or huevos rancheros and more.

El Coyote is your number one choice for Mexican food in Forest Hills with great drinks, freshly prepared, authentic Mexican cuisine, friendly service, and reasonable prices. Come one come all to El Coyote!

70-09 Austin Street (2nd Floor)
Forest Hills  718.268.0777


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