Sunday, January 25, 2009

Papatzul and déjà vu

I'd never eaten at Papatzul before, so when I read the laudatory review on Serious Eats I was excited to meet up with AT at a new place. Yet as soon as I walked in, something felt familiar. It wasn't until I opened the short, curved door to one of their restrooms that I realized why: I'd once had several cocktails on a date at this address, years ago when it had been a bar with pool tables instead of a restaurant. New York City just never stays the same.

The switch to Papatzul was a positive, in my opinion. Not that the bar had been bad, but because the food at Papatzul is worth trying. My order of the budin al pasilla, a layered casserole of corn tortillas, shreds of chicken, melted cheese, and creamy whole beans, with a crosshatch of crema over the top, was uncomplicated comfort food, soupy around the edges at first but then as it cooled, a hearty delight to sink my spoon into. The flavors and spicing were well-balanced, if just a touch on the salty side.
AT's duck enchiladas in mole sauce were also good, judging from the bite I took. Considering that she cleaned her plate I'd say she also gave it a thumbs up.

The prices were neither cheap nor egregious, and the food was solid. With the night frigid and the place nearly empty, AT and I didn't linger for very long after our meal—sitting around in a barely filled restaurant always feels awkward to me. On a busier day with just a few more tables occupied around us, though, we probably would have. After all, I have some fond memories from the place.


  1. whats with the pink light? busted camera or weird lighting?

  2. The pink was from the restaurant lighting. My camera hasn't bitten the dust yet!

  3. I've been following your blog for a long time (courtesy of FoodMayhem) and I have to say, your move to Fort Collins is so identifiable. I moved to a college town for my PhD and have since missed all of the foods you are now blogging about. I'm adding Papatzul to my NYC list when I visit this spring!

  4. EMC, it's weird to go from NYC to someplace else, isn't it? We can probably totally relate. I keep a running list of places I want to try when I go back to NYC too :)