First and foremost I have to give props where props are due, because with all of the great restaurants in the Flatiron, one of the few things missing was a great taqueria.
Additional props are also due for managing to break the curse on the location, the gravesite of two other pretty good restaurants, Planet Thailand and Granduca Di Sicilia (RIPx2). But sadly neither of them could turn out the kind of patronage that Presidente seems to be enjoying.
And it is enjoying the love rightly so. Presidente is well executed. A few misses here and there. A few corners still left to be ironed. But it blows the puertas off of Choza on the other side of the park.
The décor, vibe and service are also worth a mention as they all feel as authentic as anything you might come across in Mexico, even a touch dirty, with the open sink in the middle of the dining room. But it’s charming filth. Not actual filth and somehow it makes the place all that more desirable.
As for the food, the guac and chips are dope. Not made at your table or anything. But made well. Made fresh. And made to evaporate from your plate like a dog’s breakfast.
Of the tacos, the clear winner is the shrimp. So good. Especially when you drizzle some of their habanero sauce on top. But don’t fret, it’s not as hot as most. It does, however, have more flavor than most habanero sauces I’ve had.
The crispy fish taco (cod) is a solid good, but it pales in comparison to the shrimp, both in size and flavor.
And bringing up the rear was the black bean and sweet potato. This and the salsas were the two biggest misses for me. The salsa being the greater infraction of the two, I mean after all, if it’s one thing you should nail as a Mexican joint it’s the salsa, no?
My other big nit is the absence of dessert. They don’t even have it yet as an option on the menu, although it’s supposedly coming soon. Good, because as far as I’m concerned, they could easily lop off the top third of the menu to accommodate it. The top third is made up of tiny tacos which you get in fours. Consensus is that they are no bueno. So just skip to the second tier of tacos and go to town.