5 Burros Café
Forest Hills, NY
Review by Diana
Thankfully, that means when the food is good, people will love it, and the 5 Burros (a play on 5 boroughs -- the political entities that comprise New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island. There is some confusion because each borough is also a county of New York State, but some have different names: New York, Kings, Queens, Bronx, Richmond. Go figure.) has good food. We ordered chicken wings, guacamole, queso fundida (served with flour tortillas), and a burger with "Mexican fries." Their chips and salsa were first rate, and tasted clean and fresh. They made them in the kitchen tucked behind the mezzanine level where there were four more tables of four.
Oh, the place is quite tiny. From the front, its about as wide as a double garage, and you see a couple of tiny tables jammed in there and a bar. You have to walk back a bit, but there probably aren't more than a dozen tables in the whole place. There is one that can seat 6 or so and it has a "reserved" marker on it. It's cute. The place is decorated by "Mexican surfer culture" motifs -- half a Day of the Dead skeleton made of wood, sombreros, half a piñata mounted into the wall so it looks like it's coming out of it, a large cut-out cactus, bumper stickers, chili pepper Christmas lights ... you can buy this stuff, too.
One of us is on the popular Atkins diet, which means no carbohydrates: starch, sugar, thickened sauces, beans, etc. Fortunately, there were no refried beans (the part of Mexican food that says "leftovers!" loudest) anywhere, and the tortillas were served separately. We didn't have to hear anything about restrictions, induction periods, etc. because there was nothing to bitch about. What a blessing! Another reason to love this place.
The badness -- the service was bad. The waiter was inattentive, though once you flagged him down, he did hop to it. We overheard him saying he was going in for an interview for an investment banking job. He must be the only person going from the food industry to "i-banking." Everyone else I know is trying to break into the restaurant biz. So maybe he's just slow.
Another bad thing -- the soft drinks aren't bottomless. So don't say yes automatically when the waiter asks if you want a refill. It'll cost you $2 per pint Mason jar (with handle).
But overall, the price was right -- all of the food cost the three of us about $40 total, the food was GOOD Mexican fare, and the funky decoration and funky name made it a nice experience (the logo is the back end of 5 mules ...). When you go, you'd better hope that slow waiter got that i-banking job.
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