Run from the Border

As I mentioned in my last post, Mexican restaurants can be very hit-or-miss. Unfortunately, after a great meal at El Rio Grande, I was slightly let down by Viva Pancho the next night. Now, I should clarify that I still had a great time out with my co-workers for one of their birthdays, but that great time was hardly complimented by great food.

Viva Pancho is a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant just off from Times Square, and tucked in between Virgil's Real Barbecue and a deli. It would be easy to miss if there wasn't a man in a sombrero standing in front of the restaurant holding a menu. Once inside, the restaurant feels like it's trying a little too hard to feel authentic. On a more positive note, the host/waitstaff is accommodating for large parties, like we were, and the service is very fast.

I have come to Viva Pancho before both for drinks and for meals, and I quickly learned after a meal or two that their food is just plain bad. The enchiladas and burritos are way too light on filling. The chicken is poor quality, slimy dark meat, and almost all of the dishes are bland. Even the salsa is watery and mediocre. But, I have learned one thing...after these experiences, the drinks are the only safe bet.

Our group ordered a few pitchers of margaritas, which were great. I've also had the sangria that was very good. I ended up trying some of my friend's chicken fajitas, and I have to say that if/when I go back to Viva Pancho, I will definitely be ordering those. Because some of my co-workers frequent the restaurant a lot and know some of the waiters, they brought out a few rounds of fruity shots on the house, as well two desserts. See, I can find the positive in every situation! The flan was just ok, but the fried ice cream blew me away. Huge pieces of fried cinnamon dough were covered with vanilla ice cream. Divine! Actually, I may rethink that fajita idea. Is it wrong to order just a margarita and dessert next time?!

Next time I have a craving for Mexican food during work, I will definitely turn here for some Midtown Lunch ideas. Or if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Gracias!

Viva Pancho
156 West 44th Street
b/t 6th & 7th Avenue
Menu Pages listing