La Cenita- You Down with MPD?

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Pants at a Glance
  • scene: Models and Bottles baby...this is meatpacking flash dash and cash- not too overdone or fancy, but its all about the vibe
  • sip: Custom cocktails, etc etc etc
  • savor: Quac; queso; S'mores empanada; the meat market on display
  • sit: With your girlfriends and your sugar daddy; with anyone who wants to celebrate their bday at a hot spot; with the underage and the underfed
  • spend: $$$
  • address: 409 West 14th Street
  • phone number: (646) 289-3930
  • website:

Perhaps in homage to the summer’s hottest video “Blurred Lines” , or perhaps a sly nod to the owners’ penchants for bedding models, La Cenita debuted a teaser ad campaign this summer of girls dressed in nothing more than boy shorts and  bandanas across their mouths.  Because nothing says ” we care about food” more than naked models.  Anyway, La Cenita was destined to open in a PR frenzy, with VIPS and media talking up the buzz, before any normal folk could even try to get near it.  It’s weird, because MPD especially is lacking for over-priced cuisine served to  a clientele that doesn’t eat- La Cenita was here to satisfy that itch and become the new go to for scensters and B and T.  Thank god!

We decided to try La Cenita on the on a Monday night, because we both just happened to be dying for Mexican food.  We could use our imaginations to figure out what the scene would be like on a more social night of the week, but even on a Monday there were several large tables of old men and girls who measured no more than 30 inches around at their widest.  We were greeted by 3 hosts and a guy who just leaned against the host stand and absentmindely typed on his phone; talking on your phone must be allowed for employees, because the bathroom attendant was screaming on hers both times we used the loo.  The two story space is dark and sort of Mexicanish, there are some nondescript etchings on the glass, and of course large mirrors.

I honestly have to say that our waiter was exceptional- he was professional, friendly and helpful, and did not push us to order more food than we wanted. (Probably because we ordered more than enough).  I can’t say that I was shocked, but I sort of was.  There were no shortage of staff lingering around, and we even had one Lurch-like fellow that would kind of creep our table every now and then; the staff is all in denim on denim outfits.  My drink- I am blanking on the name but it was margarita with grapefruit juice- was delicious, tart and crisp, but the salty foam was a litte weird, but manageable.  The food was basically tasty enough; guacamole is always good, and melted cheese is never a bad idea- but the prices here indicate that this not about Mexican street food, it is about the scene.  About those prices- Sister and I were handed different menus with different pricing (see below), which took us a while to figure out which was one correct- the waiter had to tell us.


Menu mystery...which prices are right?
Menu mystery…which prices are right?
la cenita nyc
Holy guacamole
La Cenita NYC
In Queso you were wondering…


La Cenita NYC
La Cenita NYC
Tacos, soft and hard


So in addition to the guacamole and queso fundido, we also had a hamachi crudo with peach habanero and  gooseberries to begin.  The crudo was fresh and enjoyable, a little too much of the sweet sauce.  Then we had the ubitiquos esquities (corn with cojita cheese) which was a highlight, delicious and done off the cob.  Tacos were next- chicken tinga (soft tortilla), and crab and corn (hard tortilla).  Both tacos were fine, nothing special.  Dessert, however, was definitely special- a s’mores empanada, in all of its fried, gooey, melty goodness. La Cenita is definitely the new hot spot  catering to the coveted caliente crowd, not a place to think too much about..go have some drinks and head to Paty’s taco truck late night for real Mexican food, after da club…

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