Long Island City, Queens, is getting a little more Mexican this week. That's because the guys behind Bar Henry have branched out to the borough to open a 40-seat spot there, Casa Enrique, focusing on the regional cuisine of Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state. Why Chiapas? That just happens to be where the chef and the general manager hail from.
The restaurant's kitchen is headed up by Cosme Aguilar (EU, Les Deux Gamins) while his brother Luis is running the front of the house. And as for that front of the house, it's very austere. Think lots of white, simple lines, a wood bar and a painted communal table "fashioned from 100-year-old wood." Just to keep the monotony at bay, there are accents of color thanks to pieces of Mexican art. And for those who prefer a little greenery around them while they are eating, the 15-seat garden with art from Queens artists should be opening up soon enough.
Meanwhile, all that simple design is meant to put the emphasis on Aguilar's cuisine, which is heavily influenced by his mother's recipes. So yeah, there is guacamole ($8) and tacos ($8 for two) on the menu (below) but there are also slightly more esoteric dishes like the $20 Chamorro de Borrego (lamb shank braised in chili pulla, huajes, epazote with rice and beans) and the $16 Cochinito Chiapaneco (roasted pork ribs marinated in guajillo chilies, rice and bean).
5-48 49th Avenue, Long Island City, Queens // 347-448-6040