by: B.A. Nilsson
Warren St., Hudson, 828-7770. Serving daily 11:30-11. AE,
price range: $11 (huevos rancheros) to $18 (Cajun burrito)
what I did for starters, and I recommend it. I ordered a serving
of salsa and chips ($3.50)—and don’t get me wrong, the salsa
is homemade and cilantro-centric—and lined up the six bottles
of hot sauce. You’ll find a variety of them as part of your
table setting, and I believe six is the norm, although I may
have borrowed a bottle or two from an adjacent table.
I applied a dollop of each on a corn chip, and away I went,
allowing each sauce to fully occupy my palate before taking
a sip of my margarita and moving to the next. They ranged
from fiery to beyond inferno, with enough individual flavor
to require a second trip around the block. And then a third.
Which takes its toll on a margarita.
Because Mexican Radio aims to please a broad-based clientele,
the kitchen doesn’t fire up the heat in the menu items. Owner
Lori Selden assured me that her own preference would be for
a higher temperature, so the many sauces (which also are available
for sale) are a compromise. Fine with me.
The Hudson branch of this Manhattan-based eatery opened a
little over a year ago, after a year spent refurbishing a
former antique shop. “It’s a re-creation of what we have in
New York,” says Selden, whose location on Cleveland Place
long has been highly acclaimed. “We thought about opening
in Hudson for years. We’ve been coming up here for a long
time, renting a place at first and then buying our own house
three years ago.”
She’s a musician, and her husband, Mark Young, is an actor.
Why a Mexican restaurant? “He grew up in San Francisco, and
I lived there for years. When we moved to the East Coast,
we missed the kind of Mexican restaurant we liked there. So
we decided to open our own.”
Although we have ever-greater access to Mexican restaurants,
as a culture we have no general sense of the legacy of this
cuisine and thus find it difficult to assess the authenticity.
Certainly what’s out there is of varying quality.
Mexican Radio starts with an authentic approach, but paints
it with local color in the form of fresh ingredients and an
innovative approach. The triple enchiladas mole ($17), for
example, gives you a choice of any or all of the distinctive
toppings, each flavored with unsweetened chocolate: raspberry
chipotle, giving a berry-based sweetness to smoked jalapenos;
a pumpkin seed-based one and the house mole, which adds raisins
and almonds. Fillings include cheese, vegetables, chicken
Obviously, you’re paying more than you might elsewhere for
enchiladas, but this isn’t the dish you’re getting elsewhere.
The same holds true for the burritos ($15-$18), which are
too-generously sized and teeming with flavor. The fillings,
as described for the enchiladas, are treated as more than
the usual afterthought, and also can include spicy shrimp,
chopped plantains and perky chorizo.
I sampled an appetizer plate of the chorizo ($10) and was
impressed not only by the sausage itself but also the added
flavor of the wine and beer in which its simmered. It’s not
something to spring lightly on unaccustomed friends, or at
least on your mother-in-law if she’s anything like mine. One
bite and she looked as if a traffic accident had occurred
just south of her tongue. My daughter tried the chorizo and
loved it. This is the contrast between one who relies on McDonald’s
fare and one who doesn’t.
Because Selden herself is a vegetarian, Mexican Radio is an
excellent source for meatless cuisine. The Three Crispy Tacos
($15) are a large version of what you’d expect, with a choice
of fillings. Even when they’re taken solely on the veggie
route you get a fine array of flavors, helped by the sauces
of pico de gallo and a tomatillo salsa.
A side dish of beans is also bidirectional. Black beans keep
you on the vegetarian path; pintos don’t.
Appetizers run from chips and salsa on up to a fancy Radio
Roll-Up ($12), which is practically an entrée and gives you
roasted veggies, beans and cheese in a deep-fried flour tortilla.
I like the culture clash in Mexican spring rolls ($9), stuffing
corn and mushrooms, peppers and guacamole into a wrapper that’s
fried and served with a raspberry chipotle peanut sauce. You
read that correctly.
The guac is great ($9 as an appetizer) and there’s even a
Mexican fondue ($9) that invites you to dip tortilla chips
into a Dos Equis-moistened hot cheese sauce.
Huevos rancheros ($11) as an entrée? Why not? For that matter,
why not wrap Cajun-spiced shrimp in a burrito ($18)? It’s
part of the approach immortalized in the Wall of Voodoo song,
itself a tribute to a time when the most creative mix of music
was coming to us from south of the border.
There’s much, much more to the menu—including some pricey
but excellent desserts—and the restaurant itself is a cheerful,
comfortable, multilevel spot for anything from cocktails to
full-blown dining. I’m not much of a mixed-drinks guy, but
the cheerful service, the creative jumble of decor (love all
those candles!) and the hot sauce with chips made that margarita
about as welcoming as a drink can be.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
want your feedback
you eaten at any
recently reviewed restaurants?
Agree or disagree with B.A.? Let us know what you think...
address not required to submit your feedback, but required to
be placed in running for a Van Dyck Gift Certificate.
very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..