Date Night: La Superior
The attitude starts before you walk in the door; after all, this Mexican restaurant in Williamsburg is called La Superior, not La Muy Bien or El OK. Named for a beer, rather than a boast, the restaurant nevertheless exudes confidence.
Music from the open kitchen jabs at the music pouring out of the speakers, so you can kill time while you wait by trying to name those tunes. Mismatched chairs and tipsy tables sit haphazardly beneath walls the color of a raging rock star's vocal cords. Food comes served on plastic plates that could double as Frisbees; if the dining area were big enough to get a game going, that is. (It isn't.)
Behind the bar, the blender whirs and whirls. Skipping the eponymous suds or a Tecate, we tried the freshly made aguas frescas ($3 each): watermelon and "pricky pear," refreshing despite the typo. During the summer, when the fruit is in season, these drinks must be absolutely amazing.
We started with the salsas ($4), small cups of seven different types, ranging from the pleasantly tingling salsa fresca to the lusciously creamy cactus. Sadly, we weren't offered a refill on chips, although our server did tell us to sprinkle the salsa we had left onto our enchiladas suizas ($10)—three loosely folded tortillas stuffed with tender white meat chicken, topped with cheese, and totally covered by a lime-explosion tomatillo sauce.
The ezquites ($4), loose kernels of corn dolled up with a healthy tablespoon of butter and sprinkle of cheese, looked good, then kind of gross as the melting butter transformed into a soup.
But just like the waitstaff doesn't expect you to stumble in perfectly coiffed (and, frankly, would probably laugh at you if you did), you can't expect the comida corrida y callejera (street and diner food) that La Superior specializes in to come out looking camera-ready. What matters most is taste. And, besides, too much butter is never enough, at least on corn.
Alas, the excessive use of cream gave the rajas (roasted poblano peppers) a guminess that made us give up after a few bites. One more complaint while we're at it: the single-tortilla wrapping. At least two trees died to construct all the paper napkins we needed to clean ourselves up. Another tortilla would have been much appreciated.
We fared better with our four other types of tacos: pescado zarandeado ($2.50), grilled white fish topped with crunchy pico de gallo, and tinga de pollo ($2.50), shredded chicken spiced with chipotle, tasty heat you could smell. One of us found the chunks of beef tongue on the taco lengua ($3.50) pleasingly gamy, while the other thought only of pencil erasers as she chewed. By far the best was the carnitas ($2.50), pork confit and pickled onions piled high, pungent and acidic at once. There was a fair amount of post-prandial lip-smacking.
Come here before a show at Glasslands or Bembe to fuel up for dancing. Come here afterward, clothes askew and heart pounding, ears still ringing from that encore. With its filling food and don't care atmosphere, La Superior is best for: a date with a musical interlude.
About the author:Jessica Allen and Garrett Ziegler have been eating out together since 2002 and writing We Heart New York since 2006.