I was very sad when I learned that Blue Chips closed, but delighted to find out that it was quickly being replaced by El Norteno. Located on Queens Blvd between 42nd and 43rd streets, the new Mexican restaurant is almost identical to the old one – they even kept the decor and table layout. We forgot to take a picture of the front awning but will try to remember to add one later.
Despite “chips” being gone from the restaurants name, they still serve up the complimentary appetizer with a side of delicious salsa.
We opted for some margaritas on this Cinco de Mayo, but regrettably they were quite disappointing. They have a number of different flavors, but it’s all from a margarita mix, and with just regular ice cubes. The guava one was way to sweet, and even the classic margarita was barely sour. And there wasn’t even any salt! I won’t get this again here. Fortunately during a brief stop at Lowery’s afterwards I acquired the necessary ingredients to make our own margaritas at home.
The menu is very similar to the old one from Chips (and ultimately very similar to most Mexican restaurants), but there were a few unique highlights. Here is the burrito mojeno, which is like a regular burrito, but smothered with melted cheddar cheese and green and red sauces. An additional spicy sauce (the dark brown one you see in the picture) comes on the side. It costs just a couple bucks extra over a plain burrito, and I think it’s well worth it. The portion is huge but it was so delicious that I managed to scarf the whole thing down.
Another classic are the tostadas – the dish comes with three. It’s also noteworthy that the menu allows you to do “combinations” of certain dishes. $14 for 2 and $17 for 3. Can’t decide between an enchilada or a chimichanga? Get one small one of each! Each item can be selected with your choice of meat (with an extra charge for certain ones, like shrimp). The tostadas seen here weren’t as impressive as the burrito and could be described as average. They were also served on a thin sheet of paper for some reason, which made them harder to cut and eat.