Joining the growing brigade of Tex-Mex options in New York tonight is El Original, a restaurant from by seventh generation Texan and author/blogger Lisa Fain, of Homesick Texan, who simply couldn't take what New York defines as Tex-Mex fare. To help it feel like home, Fain had some vintage appliances and a stone lion's head from an old Texas mansion brought up north. The team has also installed a tortilla-making station to keep things traditional, though it's not quite ready for action. The restaurant is in soft open mode until April 10, serving an abbreviated menu. And, at least for now, it is only seating diners who have made reservations through OpenTable.
The Menu: Fain's full menu covers lots of Tex-Mex classics like queso, tacos, Texas red chili, and Frito pie (sadly not served in an actual bag of Fritos, but in a less-traditional bowl). For the uninitiated New Yorker, there's a glossary on the side of the menu to didactically explain what's going on here, with notes like: "picadillo is ground beef cooked with chiles, spices and tomatoes." Sadly, there are no breakfast burritos or tacos to be found here. There are, however, lots of tequilas, mezcals, and south of the border themed cocktails like Mexican martini made with tequila, lime, orange liqueur, olive juice, habanero bitters, serrano olives, and sweet hot salt.