Friday, July 17, 2015

Restaurant Review: Fun in the Sun at El Coyote

Long-time readers of this blog know that there are few things I like as much as being able to loll away the summer sitting outside at one of our fine restaurants in Forest Hills with a brew or otherwise refreshing drink in hand and some tasty vittles to munch on. Well, recently, I had the chance to right a nagging wrong by FINALLY getting myself to our newest Mexican restaurant, El Coyote, located on the upper floor of that two story structure on Austin St. that is also home to Agora Taverna.

I was seated outside on their "deck" overlooking the hustle and bustle of Austin Street. My experience at El Coyote opened in a decidedly disappointing way. The good news, however, is it all went uphill—and very, very uphill, I might add—from there.

The disappointment came in the form of stale-tasting tortilla chips I was served when I sat down with my just-passable salsa. And I mean these chips were stale, chewy, and old. And I was not happy.

I trekked on, however, and ordered the guacamole, which I had heard is quite good at El Coyote, and of course the requisite margarita on the rocks with salt.

Things started to look up quickly. The guacamole, which is made at your table in Rosa Mexicano fashion, I ordered "medium spicy" and came just that way, with just a hint of kick to it, and it was delicious—up there with the best guac I've had anywhere. They refreshed my chips with it, and they were fresh, finally. They also refreshed my salsa. I don't know if this was a bad day there for salsa, but I wasn't a fan of their's. Too smokey, too garlicky, not enough tomato-ey sweetness for my liking.

Things continued to look up. The margarita was perfect. And then my main course, the Combo Mexicano which I ordered with chicken taco, enchilada and burrito ($12.95) was fresh and superbly done. The included towering side rice and beans, splendid.

The service was attentive and pleasant. Overall, I think Forest Hills has another excellent option for Mexican food. I'll chalk up the disappointing salsa and chips experience to a bad day, and hope that doesn't happen again. But the rest of the experience, plus my relaxing time spent sipping my refreshing margarita on their sunny outside patio way above the hustle and bustle of Forest Hills makes me give El Coyote a big shiny grade of A.

(Oh, and tuck this little number away fellow Forest Hillers: (718) 268-0777 That's El Coyote's phone number and guess what, this baby delivers unlike somebody else I know!  )

El Coyote is located on the top floor of that two-story structure on Austin Street where Garcia's used to be

Add points for the eccentric decor! We need more eccentricity here in The Hills!

The view from my perch of bustling Austin Street

Guacamole, made to order and delicious! Memorably good!

Excellent entrees!

No complaints about the rice and beans.

The outside deck could be a little nicer, but who's complaining? I'm freakin' outside!

The disappointing salsa and chips, made tolerable by, what else, a margarita!


  1. I think what your expecting as salsa and what that is are actually two different things.

  2. I tried the place recently. They have a happy hour at the bar (I think all day M-T-W) with really cheap food. The dishes all cost around $3, so I ordered three thinking that would be the correct amount for one person. I was mistaken. I was full after 2 dishes. I highly recommend it. The happy hour specials are only available at the bar.

  3. This place won't survive... The guac is excellent as is the lime boat margarita -- everything else has been below average... Such a shame since the northern blvd location is very good!!!!

  4. We were there Wednesday night at 8:00. Food was o.k. Nothing extraordinary. There were only 9 other people eating. I hope they make it. It's a good option for the area.

  5. Ate there last night. Waiter was good at recommending dishes. Food was good but not great.

  6. Chips are hard to get right. I like the idea of someone giving 5 Burro a run for their money. I'm still salty over a few years ago when they charged me a "to go" fee for chips (this was on top of paying for chips that are free if you eat there, if I recall correctly) that involved putting them in a crappy plastic bag. Haven't been back since, except for the street fairs.

  7. After my last two times there, my wife and I won't be back. We had been two or three times previously and liked it. Two visits ago, our guacamole came out completely bland. We asked for some lime and salt, our waiter brings over a salt shaker and literally hands me a slice of lime (not on a plate or anything, just puts it in my hand). They also overcharged on our sangria pitcher and said they raised their prices and gave us the old menu. We argued that we should be charged the price that was on the menu given to us and they honored it.

    The last time was the night of the Who concert. We wanted to eat and then listen to the last hour of the concert (we had plans most of the day so we didn't buy tickets thinking we might not be back in time). The primary problem this time was the service, and it actually wasn't that busy so that wasn't an excuse. We sat down around 8:15. They made the wrong margarita for my wife. She asked for the correct one and nothing happened for 15 minutes (we were sitting near the bar so we saw everything being made). Finally asked the waiter and he got the margarita made and served. The guacamole was better this time, although we did ask for extra salt and lime to be safe. After finishing the guac and our margaritas, 20-25 minutes passed and our food was not out yet. We asked the waiter and he went to check on it, then came out and said it would be out in a couple minutes (meaning they were making it right then). We ate our food and then asked to speak with the manager and told him how unhappy we were. They did comp an entree and our second round of drinks which was nice but we will never go back after that experience. Having worked in the service industry, I know sometimes you're understaffed or a kitchen gets backed up. All they had to do is keep us informed and we would have been fine with it. I remember at Station House once an appetizer we ordered took a little while longer than usual. We didn't even say anything and the waiter comped it for us because of the wait time.

    The worst part was as we were walking out of the restaurant, it was just before 10pm and the concert was over.

    It is a shame because the food is generally good there, but my wife and I won't go back after our last two experiences.

  8. i want to like this place so much- love dining outside whenever possible! I will agree wholeheartedly that the lime boat margaritas are great. But we have given them 2 chances now food-wise and been disappointed both times. As tasty as it is to have fresh, table side guac (which definitely is tasty) we couldn't have been more turned off by the grubby ingredients cart they wheel out to make it on, coupled with the filthy apron the server was wearing. MAJOR turn-off. They should really market themselves better. As for main courses- meh. Even being able to sit outside, this place is worlds away from 5 Burro in quality in our opinion.

    1. I think 5 Burro is excellent as well and this place is not quite as good. But, El Coyote does deliver, and 5 Burro does not (last I checked) and it's about time they did. Heck, even Nick's Pizza finally realized they had to start delivery to compete with all the new great places opening.

    2. AGREED! Although eating one of their amazing burritos delivered to home without one of their spectacular margaritas would be weird for me ;)
      Nick's pizza taking credit cards and delivering has been such a wonderful food change in the 'hood :)

  9. I had a VERY uneven experience eating here. The first time was so-so, the second time was great (loved Alberto the waiter but now he's gone), the third they put salt into my mojito and it was inedible! (They apologized - according to the waiter they mixed up the salt and sugar canisters!! Really?! - but still charged me for the corrected mojito)! The fourth (I'm a masochist) was so-so. No longer recommended.

  10. Was there last night. Service was so-so. Food was good. Was not too busy for a Saturday. Will try it again soon.