Holy guacamole! Several Valley eateries prepare this popular Mexican specialty right at your table
Photographs by Teresa Horgan
The first time I had guacamole made tableside was almost a decade ago at the famed Rosa Mexicana in Lincoln Center. It was a revelation, totally different from anything I’d ever had before, and easily one of the best things I’d ever tasted. The guacamole I was used to consisted of mashed avocados and a few spoonfuls of salsa — at least, that’s how my mom always made it (and how I still do in a pinch). But this concoction was complex — fresh, piquant, deliciously creamy, but with crunch and zing in every bite. Even if it had come straight out of the kitchen we would have enjoyed it every bit as much. But the unique experience of having it made-to-order at the table did add an element of fun and interactivity that’s usually missing at dinner (and is probably why hibachi remains so popular). It’s this performance aspect and the guac’s undeniable freshness that has made tableside guacamole such a popular offering in today’s Mexican restaurants. “It’s enticing. Guests can see it’s being made the way they want — we literally cut the avocados right in front of them. They can interact with the staff, speak Spanish if they want,” says Danielle Whitley, a manager at La Puerta Azul in Millbrook. “Nine times out of 10 people order it.”
Lucky for those living in the Valley, you don’t have to travel all the way to New York City to have some fun with this fad. We’ve gotten the scoop on three different Valley restaurants dishing up traditional Mexican guacamole — a blend of avocado, tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, and fresh lime juice — in authentic molcajetes (a lava rock mortar and pestle), served right at the table.
Guacamole is prepared in a traditional lava rock mortar and pestle at La Puerta Azul
This Cornwall Mexican-American lunch and dinner spot has the cheapest guac of the bunch ($7.95). They add a little pepper into their mix, and jalapeño only on request. If you aren’t all avocadoed-out, try the popular avocado fries, too.
This five-time Best of the Hudson Valley winner has a special staff of dedicated guacamole makers, “The Guacamole Girls.” Their recipe uses Spanish onion and a pinch of salt, and is well-ground to achieve a creamy consistency ($14).
This popular Mexican cocina, with locations in Ellenville and Rhinebeck, adds garlic to the traditional recipe, and throws in more goodies than most places for a guac that has a lot of texture and bite ($11).
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How to Make Homemade Guacamole
What you’ll need:
- 2-4 avocados
- 1 diced Roma tomato
- 3-5 minced garlic cloves
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- ½ cup diced onion (or to taste)
- Dash of oregano
- 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
- Garlic salt (optional)
What you’ll do:
- In a bowl, gut and seed avocados and stir with a fork or whisk until slightly mashed.
- Combine with all the remaining ingredients except lemon, and stir until fully mixed.
- Add lemon juice, stir, and serve. ¡Buen provecho!
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