Sometimes a critic pens a review so very curious that we have to remove it from Other Critics and scratch our head over it. And today that review is Robert Sietsema’s take on El Cantinero. Don’t get us wrong, we love El Cantinero — for its boisterous barroom happy hour and its WTF art. But it’s kind of perplexing to read Sietsema praise its food (the fajitas are “splendid,” the “chile reyenos” [sic] are also “splendid,” and as for the combo platter, “the city offers no better interlude between frozen margarita pitchers”). Wow! So why these reviews on Yelp?
• “Worse than those multi-chain counterparts”
• “Definitely some of the worst mexican food I’ve had in the city”
• “This has got to be the worst TexMex Joint in the USA!”
• “That was easily the worst Mexican food I’ve had, ever”
• “Worst Mexican food I’ve ever had”
• “I’m sorry but this place has the worst mexican food … period!”
Look, El Cantinero is a barrel of fun and it’s close to the Voice offices, so who can blame Sietsema for grabbing some pitchers on its deck. But was anyone else surprised to see this middling NYU fallback singled out for praise?