Restaurants, Mexican Soho
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 (Evan Sung)
Evan Sungpapatzul5

Mayan for “food of the gods,” Papatzul spreads a feast worthy of minor deities, if not Quetzalcoatl himself. Mexico City native Thierry Amezcua offers up the diverse flavors of southern Mexico, with highlights from the Yucatán, the Veracruz coast and Oaxaca, as well as the addictive street food of the capital. Starting off the proceedings are satisfying appetizers like seared sea scallop tostadas with avocado-tamarind salsa and the street snack favorite sopes con chorizo (corn cakes with chorizo). Entrées move fluidly between coast and campo, with standouts like the fish stew and the roasted duck enchiladas slumbering in mole sauce. Painted brick walls, decorative masks and dozens of well-aged tequilas bring a bit of Mexico City nostalgia to the place.


Venue name: Papatzul
Address: 55 Grand St
New York
Cross street: between West Broadway and Wooster St
Opening hours: Tue–Thu noon–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–midnight
Transport: Subway: A, C, E, 1 to Canal St
Price: Average main course: $18. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Everything we ate was amazing. The margaritas were very tasty. The salsas were the best I've ever had. The guacamole was smooth and creamy and delicious. Everyone loved their main dishes. I had the al pastor tacos and they were 💯

This review will be a long one, because there is just so much to say, but if you’re in a hurry, at least know this: the city health inspectors need to shut this place down. Looking back, maybe when the hostess greeted us with “do you have a living social deal”, I should have taken that as a bad sign. But, anyway… Impressed that their happy hour is listed to go until 8pm, when most end at 7, a friend and I decided to book an early 6pm table. We made the most of happy hour, slowly working our way through the exotic margarita menu. We were, unfortunately, less than impressed with the overly sugared and syrupy drinks, but we thought, "hey, you can't complain when their only 6 bucks a pop.” The guacamole, salsa and chips we ordered were similarly disappointing, both tasting bland and pre-packaged, like something you could pick up at a supermarket. By the time we got around to ordering dinner, our expectations were already pretty low. But, the food not only tasted bad, it was, well, bad. The fish tacos tasted like they were made with days old fish and the tortillas were stale. I got through less than one of them, as did my friend, but that was enough to make us sick the rest of the night. No joke. When the bill arrived we were surprised to see that $6 happy hour margaritas were actually $12. Thinking there must be some mistake, we asked our waitress about it and we were told that happy hour only takes place in the front of the restaurant – we were, apparently, 5 ft from ‘happy hour zone’. We told her that we were unaware of any such policy, and she told us it would have been listed where we booked. So, I pulled up their page on open table (where we booked) on my phone and seeing no mention of it, I asked her to show me where it was. She then replied, “Oh, it’s not on Open Table but it is on our website”. So, I pulled up their website on my phone and again, saw no mention of it. When I asked her to show me where it was, she offered to get the manager instead. The manager arrived with what can only be described as an aggressive and indignant attitude. He informed us that he didn’t need to show us the announcement on their website because it was on their sign at the bar. I asked him to show me that, and, to be fair, on blackboard by the bar which you probably wouldn’t see unless you were sitting at a bar, amongst some crowded text there was one small line saying that happy hour was from 5pm to 8pm at the bar. When I pointed out that a customer who had booked a table would not have any reason to seek out this sign, and we had been told there was an statement on their website, which turned out not to be true, he got really aggressive, telling me that I shouldn’t care about happy hour and that there were ‘people like me in the world’. Whatever that means. Seeing that this conversation was going nowhere, my friend and I just decided to leave. As she walked past him he literally shoved her towards the door and screamed at her over and over again, to ‘never come back’. Why he was so aggressive towards her when I was the one discussing the matter with him, I have no idea. We think this manager, who called himself, Thierry, might actually have some significant psychological issues. All in all, this was quite seriously the worst restaurant experience I have ever had in New York City. And, let’s face it, that’s saying something. If you want rude service, bad food, and food poisoning, this is the place for you. If, however, you’re looking for a nice meal, nice people, and a nice time, you’ll need to look elsewhere.