156 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 944-9747 | Map
According to signs posted in the restaurant and to the description of the establishment on their website, Viva Pancho is the "Home of the Sizzling Fajitas". As tempting as that sounded, it was so hot in the restaurant when we walked in, the last thing my friend Candice and I wanted after an intense afternoon of shoe shopping was a plate of sizzling fajitas. We wanted margaritas.
Viva Pancho did not disappoint with the margaritas! One sip made our lips go numb. Two sips made it feel as if our faces were paralyzed. And three sips made us promise out loud - through slurred speech - to remind the other to stand up very, very slowly after our meal.
It dawned on us as we ate our food that, maybe, just maybe, the margaritas were so potent for a reason - to take away from the fact that the service was sub-par and the food was only so-so. The chips were fresh, but Candice and I wished the salsa had a little more heat to it. For the main part of our meal, we each ordered the Sol Rancheso ($7.95), which consisted of tortilla chips topped with refried beans, "red sauce," and melted cheese. Because I'm a sucker for it, I also had them put a dollop of guacamole on top of mine.
I had to wait to eat my food, however, because I didn't have any silverware and it took the server a few minutes to remember that I had asked for a fork. To be honest, there was nothing special going on with that dish. The first bite tasted okay, but the more I ate, the more I realized that I was just putting the food in my mouth to try and soak up the alcohol from the margarita. As the Sol Rancheso cooled to room temperature, the texture of the chips and all their toppings began to resemble soggy cardboard and, eventually, everything just tasted like chalk.
Candice and I cleared our plates because we knew better than to walk out of there without as much food in our stomachs as possible, but we won't be going back again unless we want another round of margaritas. Or unless we want to see if their "sizzling fajitas" really live up to their hype.
Update: Viva Pancho has permanently closed. November 29, 2015
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