Welcome Calexico to Astoria!…the first of this successful string of restaurants in Queens, with three locations in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan. The breezy, casual, laid-back atmosphere reflects the background of the Vendly brothers, David, Jesse, and Brian, who started 15 years ago in Astoria with a food truck business.
With family roots in Oklahoma, the family were farmers who relocated to Calexico, a Southern California farming region hovering on the U.S./Mexico border. From the agrarian culture there comes a unique SoCal Mexican street food here in New York. You simply must try Calexico’s cuisine, which is a genre of its own.
Calexico has an impressive list of Tequilas such as blanco, reposado, añejo and Mezcal, meant to drink on their own, or mixed into a variety of refreshing margaritas. Cocktails called Paloma, Tito the Mule, Piña Calexico, and Mezcal Negroni are mixed up fresh for sipping in the light and airy, bi-level dining room, or outside on the spacious sidewalk patio. Mexican and local beers are available on draft, bottles, or cans, and wines from Francis Ford Coppola’s winery are on hand. Ask about their “Micheladas” and experience a unique Mexican drink. Calexico has a festive Happy Hour from 4-6pm Monday to Friday with 2 for 1 Margaritas, drafts, and well drinks (per person).
Everything at Calexico is made from scratch from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, served hot and nicely presented. Start with creamy guacamole with house made chips and some smokey queso dip with grilled corn and green chiles ($11). Jalapeño poppers are unlike others you’ve had. These delicate morsels are jalapeño and cheese croquettes served with buttermilk Ranch for dipping. Crispy Brussel sprouts are fantastic, prepared with peanut-chili salsa, cotija cheese, and radish. Order a bowl of grilled corn off the cob called “esquites,” a Mexican staple with cotija cheese and lime mayo ($11). Tostada salad makes a nice lunch or light dinner, tossed with jack cheese, roasted tomato salsa, black beans, roasted corn, pickled chiles and cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Top it with grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, or steak if you like.
Tacos at Calexico are well-stuffed and served singularly so you can try more than one. I loved the baja fish taco with fresh, beer-battered fish, spicy slaw and mango salsa. Chipotle pork tacos are popular for the slow-roasted, tender pork in smoky seasoning with pickled red onion, pico de gallo, and sour cream on a corn tortilla ($5.50). Carne asada tacos are filled with marinated grilled steak, and there’s also shrimp tacos, black bean tacos, and a vegan taco made from roasted beets and tempeh. Any taco can be ordered as a platter with rice and beans for just $5 more.
Burritos are a torpedo-shaped meal requiring two hands and a hearty appetite. Try the Cali burrito rolled up with carne asada, jalapeño cream, cheese, and crispy tortilla strips ($14). Fried chicken burritos offer the best of both worlds with bacon, avocado, pico, cotija cheese, and chipotle buttermilk sauce in a flour tortilla. Order a Burrito bowl instead, layered with your choice of rice and beans for a satisfying meal. Classic enchiladas are made with corn tortillas and filled with either slow-cooked chicken or grilled vegetables. Calexico takes traditional quesadillas and rolls them into a hand-held treat, with its origins in the food truck where there was limited cooking space. The result is a savory quesadilla filled with Chipotle pork, pollo asado, black beans, mushrooms, or the “Gringo” with ancho-cumin ground beef ($13). Get your sizzling fajitas on at Calexico and choose chicken, steak, shrimp, or surf and turf combo.
The servers at Calexico are friendly, polite, and efficient and the vibe is laid-back and casual with large tables for group dining and celebrations. Plan a gathering here for friends’ or family get-togethers and enjoy a fiesta at reasonable prices. Calexico offers catering for your next business or personal event.
Live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday and place your order for delivery or take out at www.calex- ico.com Use code: HOLA and get 50% off your first order. Calexico is open seven days a week: Sunday to Thursday from 11:30am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30am to 11pm, and Weekend Brunch from 11:30am to 4pm, followed by dinner service. Don’t forget Happy Hour from 4-6 weeknights that get your evening going. Visit their website for menus and mouth-watering photos and place your order right there. Bienvenidos Calexico!
32-07 30th Avenue, Astoria 929.359.7008