“Mexican” is a liberally used term in Tokyo and covers all manner of culinary sins. So it was that we found ourselves strap-hanging on the Chuo line, heading west in search of El Quixico.
Before leaving home we did some research: Chef Yoshioka Shunichi moved to Tokyo to open the restaurant 14 years ago from Kyoto, where he worked for a company wholesaling Mexican ingredients and tortillas. Apparently he’s not in it for the money—he just wants to make good food for his customers. It sounded promising. Maybe he could teach the people in Minami Aoyama a thing or two about service?
Arriving at Nishi Ogikubo station, we took the south exit and walked back along the street beside the rail tracks. At El Quixico we found a sleepy little place that felt more than just seven stops from Shinjuku. Everything and anything associated with Mexico is in here, somewhere. Mexicans might eye El Quixico the same way Irishmen judge “Irish pubs.” We thought it was quaint.
We started with (what else?) nachos and margaritas. The margaritas (¥840) were strawberry, frozen, tall, and deadly—so, this being a Friday evening, we had three each. The nachos (¥1,475) were dripping with cheese, piled high with fresh guacamole, chunky salsa, refried beans and sour cream, and topped with jalapeños. Underneath it all, the chips stayed crisp. We could have called it a night here and been satisfied.
The chicken flautas (¥945) were just as we like them—juicy meat inside a crispy tortilla—but the enchiladas (¥1,050) were swimming in watery green tomato sauce that made them soggy. The fajitas (¥1,574) were sizzling and succulent, although we had to pay extra for sour cream (¥50). With the bill now adding up, we contemplated the “couple set” (nachos, mignon steak, soup, salad and paella, ¥5,250) as potentially better value for next time.
So there will be a next time? Absolutely. It was late by the time we fell out into the street, but with El Quixico taking orders until 2am the only reason to hurry was the last train. It was an enjoyable evening that (soggy enchiladas forgiven) redeemed our faith Tokyo’s Mexican cuisine. The only remaining sin is that there isn’t a branch downtown.