Give This Cascabel A Rattle!

A lot of restaurants receive a lot of hype and buzz when they first open. Some for good reason, and some for no reason. I wasn't sure which of those two categories Cascabel Taqueria would fit in, especially since it was a "themed" restaurant. But after reading some reviews and getting a few recommendations from friends and co-workers, I decided it was finally time to see for myself.

I met my friend LF, who works up there, for a very belated birthday dinner. Once we walked in, we realized that while there was certainly a major theme going on, it was done in a fun, kitschy way...not a cheesy way.  There was wrestling everything: murals on the walls, posters, wrestling masks.  I felt like I walked into the movie "Nacho Libre!"

I had scoped out the menu before getting there, and was pretty sure what I wanted to order. She had done that as well, and funny enough, we wanted to order the same thing.

We started out with an order of Guacamole Tradicional Con Tostada. Rather than being served with the standard tortilla chips, entire tortillas (aka tostadas) were used. 

It was a little messy to break them into bite size, but they were so fresh and salty.  The guacamole was made with avocados, tomato, chili de arbol, lime, cilantro, and garlic.  The spice factor was customizable, which was nice. We went with medium.

For our main dishes, we both ordered Tacos Vegetal.  These two tacos (with double shells) featured oyster mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, poblano, queso fresco, and  house made cream.  When they were brought out to our table, we both looked at each other thinking the food looked like a hot mess.  But buried underneath the layer of lettuce and radishes was a plate full of deliciousness. 

We decided attacking the tacos with fork and knife would be the best way to go about it.  The mushrooms and potatoes both had a great flavor to them, and were well-complimented by the queso fresco.

And for a special treat since this dinner was technically for my birthday, we ordered a few churros.  About the size of munchkin donuts, these churros were light and airy, and coated in a really good cinnamon/sugar mixture.

While there wasn't waiter service, the service there was from the cashier and the bus boys was a little shaky.  But for a casual taqueria, the expectations weren't too high. 

All in all, Cascabel is definitely a nice addition to the pricier, nicer Mexican options on the Upper East Side with a very bright, lively atmosphere.  Cascabel is named for a spicy pepper whose seeds rattle inside.  And this Cascabel definitely rattled up the Mexican restaurant scene in this neighborhood!

Cascabel Taqueria
1542 2nd Avenue
b/t 80th & 81st Streets
Menu Pages listing


Looks soooo good