MexiQ: Mexican cuisine meets BBQ

Nestled in the streets of Astoria, MexiQ , a contemporary Mexican-fusion restaurant, offers a twist on common Central American cuisine, one that presents a rare distinction and separates it from the rest of ‘restaurant row’ located off of Steinway Street. Mexican restaurants in Queens generally offer a traditional, authentic feel. MEXIQ stands in a league of its own, presenting its culture and menu in a modern, cozy environment complete with an impressive full-length bar and hospitable, knowledgeable wait staff. Owner Rick, makes guests feel at home with his deep understanding of the menu and genuine admiration for his culinary establishment, renowned by critics.

The menu is based on a fusion between traditional Mexican cuisine and American BBQ. It’s broken down into sections offering various dining options: appetizers, quesadillas, salads, tacos, burgers, and traditional Mexican and BBQ offerings. The bulk of the menu is a combination of the distinct elements drawn from both cuisines, creating menu offerings such as Baja Fish Tacos, Southwestern Caesar Salad and their famous Three Spice Wings. BBQ Brisket Tacos combine smoked brisket, smothered in a tangy BBQ sauce and fresh cut cilantro. The dish is served with a side of esquites, a creamy corn with an intense, deep spicy kick. Priced at a mere eight dollars, this dish combines the traditional Central American ingredients of cilantro and flour tortillas with the American smoked brisket, covered in their signature achiote BBQ sauce, keeping customers coming back for more. Their other taco offerings include Carnitas, tacos filled with citrus braised smoked pork surrounded with fresh onions and cilantro, arranged with a side of the house pico de gallo. The Baja Fish tacos are made from fresh, beer battered grouper combined with guacamole and Mexican cream. Finished with a side of the house grilled pineapple salsa, this dish is a customer favorite as it combines the basic elements of the fish taco with fresh, innovative elements such as the addition of guacamole and side of tangy, textured pineapple salsa.

If you’re not in the mood for Mexican, MexiQ offers an abundance of traditional American dishes as seen on their extensive burger menu. The American Burger uses dijon aioli and bacon, sandwiched between a soft brioche bun, while the MexiQ Burger combines pico de gallo and chipotle aioli with a sharp cheddar and sweet caramelized onions. Prices range from $10-$14, and a side of hand cut fries can be added for a mere two dollars. If you are craving Mexican, choose one of the Quesadillas, anything from the Azteca which combines chicken and white cheddar to the Nortena, which mixes a northern style chorizo with jalapenos and goat cheese. Customers appreciate the versatile nature of the menu, offering something for everyone. Vegetarian, traditional, fusion- there’s a twist on each and every dish. “It’s my first time here, and I love it. The tacos were amazing!” said Stephanie, a first time customer who visited MEXIQ. The regulars also appreciate the consistency in the quality of the food, which never seems to fail. “I come after work; the beer menu is pretty awesome. The food is always good, and Rick’s awesome,” said Perry, a regular at MexiQ.

The staple items on the menu include the guacamole, which comes in four variations: classic, lime poaches shrimp, crispy pork and chicken cracklin’. All are made with mashed avocados, onions, cilantro, jalapenos and fresh lime juice. Locals rave about the chicken cracklin’ guac’ which had chunks of chicken and a secret blend of spices. Other appetizers include the ceviche which comes in either an octopus and shrimp or sesame tuna. Customers enjoy the opportunity to taste-test numerous items on the menu through the ‘flight’ option, which allows clientele to try each flavor/variation of a dish in a smaller portion.

MexiQ combines a comprehensive menu with an extensive beer menu featuring over 48 craft beers, and liquor menu, highlighting some of the finest tequila and bourbons. Weekly specials including a killer happy hour with $3 beers and $5 fresh margaritas, which takes place weekdays 5-7pm and 11-1am. In addition to this, the establishment is known for their Weekend Brunch which features distinct platters including Eggs Benedict, Breakfast Quesadillas, and traditional French Toast.

Customers at MexiQ appreciate the diverse menu, extensive drink menu and warm, inviting environment offered at this hidden, culinary jewel. Take advantage of the drink pairings on the menu, and make sure to ask questions to the knowledgeable, friendly staff. Owner Rick, makes all customers feel at home, and have the opportunity to fall in love with Mexican Fusion Cuisine.