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[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Like Cocina Economica Mexico and Gran Electrica, Casa Enrique is one of the few restaurants in New York that does dressed-up-but-casual Mexican cooking well. An exemplar of the style: a small skillet of Rajas con Crema ($8) with a stack of tortillas, the perfect appetizer to accompany one of the bar's tequila or mezcal drinks.

It's a soupy dip of silky-smooth roasted poblano chilies stirred with cream, studded with more strips of pepper, corn, onion, and gooey cheese. The accompanying tortillas are charred around the edges, ripe for softening with the sauce.

You can find dishes like these all over New York, and you don't need to be a fancy chef to know that spicy, fatty dips with tortillas are generally a pretty good thing. But Casa Enrique's is special—for the smoothness of its texture, the restrained richness of the cream streaked in, and its surprising delicacy. Our table compared it to a few home-style dishes—spinach and artichoke dip, Indian tikka masala—but we agreed it was a superior, just-refined-enough version of them all.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

Casa Enrique

Casa Enrique

  • Long Island City

5-48 49th Ave at Vernon Blvd. Long Island City NY 11101 347-448-6040

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