Originally Posted by Manton
Mexican is not one of NY's great strengths. Dos Caminos and Rosa Mexicana are OK, as is Zocalo (if that's even still open).
But, really, it's not worth going out of your way for.
Most Mexican food is pretty bad everywhere in the States. The American version of Mexican food is mostly Sonoran street food and largely consists of the same five ingredients in different shapes. It's as if everyone thought that Chinese food consisted entirely of noodles.
Even most of the "good" Mexican restaurants I have been to in the U.S. primarily offer amped-up versions of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc.. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- a good burrito is both an engineering and a culinary marvel. But Mexican food is a lot more than that.
Pre-columbian Mexico had the most complex cuisine in the new world. Even now, there is quite a lot of regional variation. Spanish, and probably more importantly, French influence combined with this indigenous cuisine to create a fusion which is always interesting and occasionally spectacular. This is most noticeable around Mexico City, for obvious reasons, I guess. But it can show up anywhere. Some years ago I was at a hotel restaurant in a small town in Yucatan. We weren't expecting much and were amazed to see a menu as inventive as you'd find anywhere. In particular, I remember a local venison with a surprisingly complex mole. The presentation wasn't quite up to what you might find in a Michelin-starred restaurant but the food itself easily passed muster.
I have been to a few U.S. restaurants that try to capture some of this. They mostly fail because everyone goes to them looking for tacos and burritos.