With Talented Chef Katsuji Tanabe
Let me start by saying the food at Mexikosher is fresh, delicious and plentiful, the chef is talented, the price is right, and everyone working there is helpful and nice.
The reason I am posting this is to give a little advice if I may, as supportively as I possibly can, on how the place can go, at nominal costs, from just a place with good food to an exciting place with good food, where we would actually be happy to meet friends for a date. I hope it will be well taken, as I love to see a good hard-working restaurant succeed. In any case, the following remarks reflect accurately the feeling of most Mexikosher customers I have come across, so I bet they will welcome the changes if and when they are made.
– The look of the place: For now, it looks somewhat… institutional, drab and devoid of ambience. Make it inviting, colorful, youthful. Fast food places, not having table service, can compensate for the lack of interaction by using easy and cheap or even free tools to make the place exciting: Fun colorful vibrant wall colors; fun music; Fun and catchy, and above all customer-friendly menus and directions posted everywhere on the walls on how to use their menu and how to order. This last step will save the time it takes for the staff to explain to each customer “how it works”, or it is all a jumble and a hassle. Tacos, nachos, burritos, salad bowl, toppings, sauces? We’re all for it, bring it on down, just explain it clearly and once for all. Example: Pictures of tacos or burritos on the walls, with clear instructions. Any good techie will do this for you at a reasonable budget. I am recommending the one I am most familiar with, Chanie Kaminker at Hannabi. They really have an eye for colorful and exciting and youthful, they can help you!
– The look of the plates. Judging by all the toppings and condiments available to customers, the chef is clearly a great cook. I hope one day, chef Katsuji decides to bottle some of his amazing sauces. The problem is, the food arrives in very unexciting disposable paper baskets. What would it take to get those containers colorful and exciting (same as above)? Change the order items when you call the paper goods store, think red blue green yellow purple orange, simple as that!
– The look of the food. Every dish looks the same, and our party of five had so much trouble sorting it out we all just dug in everywhere, and yes, enjoyed everything. For the life of me I couldn’t name any of the dishes. This is why I have decided not to post pictures of what we ate, as the pictures will fail to do justice to the delicious dinner we had. Some simple solutions are: fun and colorful dishes, that was already mentioned above; do not shred and slice every single dish: Some roast chicken can remain bone-in and whole; some can be ground hamburger style and arrive on skewers, and so on. The variety will be noticed and most welcome.
– Please do not overcook the meats, take them off the fire a minute or two before so they don’t risk drying out. Err on the ever-so-slightly underdone side, and remember, the residual heat will do the rest. Nothing like a juicy piece of meat or poultry, which can only happen if you don’t overcook it.
– Two weaknesses: (No coffee or tea: why?!? worried about authenticity? Don’t Mexicans, both native and adopted, drink coffee and tea?); the much-anticipated churros were left practically untouched, and were a far cry from the fabulous churros of my childhood, or even from around my street corner back in New York where a makeshift truck “kitchen” churns them tirelessly (these alas I can’t taste as they are not Kosher, but I can see and smell them, and I can see the smiles of happy people chomping on them). Please brush up on your churros!
So, dear Mexikosher owners and staff, I wish you loads of success. Only please help your customers visit you more often. Great contents, poor containers. Food is half the battle, maybe even more, and you are there! Just a matter of giving it a little pizzazz? Piece of cake! Lovely chef Katsuji, I might be back soon on another tour. Made some the suggested changes? Let me know, I’ll bring my buddies again, and give you a nice shoutout!