Offbeat New York

Lincoln Center    

Rosa Mexicano Restaurant

61 Columbus Ave, New York
Phone: 212 977-7700

Located almost right across the street from Lincoln Center, this is not the usual Mexican joint serving food made from unidentifiable ingredients. Instead, at this sophisticated, charmingly decorated, chic establishment, with two floors of eating space and a lively downstairs bar, the food is upscale Mexican with plenty of choices that will even suit the pickiest American consumer.

One of three Rosa Mexicanas in Manhattan (the others are at 9 East 18th St.; and 58th St. at First Avenue), the uptown location is in the perfect spot for concert or opera attendees who have long faced a dearth of good restaurants in the area. Almost everyone begins with a huge Marguerita and a bowl of world-class guacamole, made from scratch starting with whole avocados, on a rolling cart pushed next to your table, but there are many other tasty choices.

My favorite entree is roast duck served with mashed sweet potatoes but the menu includes such dishes as quesadillas, grilled shrimp marinated, rare tuna, pan-seared sea bass, filet mignon or hanger steak with a wonderful mystery sauce, and enchiladas filled with crabmeat and tomatillo sauce. If you sit upstairs, you'll have a view---if you get there early enough to get the table of your choice---of Lincoln Center and bits of Broadway. Be sure to make a reservation or you won't get in most nights unless you're willing to wait.

Reviewed by Joan Rattner Heilman -- a journalist who writes primarily for the older traveler. She is the author of UNBELIEVABLY GOOD DEALS AND GREAT ADVENTURES THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN'T GET UNLESS YOU'RE OVER 50, McGraw-Hill, 2007.

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