In the burgeoning community of Long Island City, it is not uncommon for two or three new restaurants to spring up, practically overnight. The western Queens neighborhood is the new trendy city spot for businesses to latch onto — whether or not these establishments last is up to the residents.
One of the newest eateries in the area, Skinny’s Cantina, comes from a successful restaurant lineage residing directly across the street — the Zagat-rated Shi. Shih Lee, owner of Shi, co-owns Skinny’s Cantina with his brother Skinny.
The result is an as-new-as-it-gets Mexican restaurant featuring a menu of enticing appetizers and entrees, along with plenty of inspired drinks for guests to ease into. A casual atmosphere welcomes patrons into the lively scene, a space with plenty of room for dining and hanging out at the bar. A talented bartender is ready to mix real margaritas and just about any other cocktail.
If you’re eating, start with crisp fried calamari. The appetizer favorite may not sound like it belongs in a Mexican restaurant, but it is prepared with a south of the border flair. The breading is fine and not overly dense like some other versions. The calamari is zesty even without the dipping sauce — however, the sauce is a welcomed addition. It’s loaded with flavors that light up the taste buds and keeps the eater coming back for more.
For an entree you can get burritos and tacos, but it would be wise to expand your Mexican cuisine horizon at Skinny’s. Chicken Milanese might not sound like an expansive gastro-horizon, but any apathy toward this dish would be a huge error. Skinny butterflies a whole chicken breast, pan-fries it and covers it with a velvety cream sauce. The sauce is not heavy whatsoever and the chicken retains it crisp exterior. This is good eating and you will clean the plate.
If you’re dining partner orders the seafood pasta dish, don’t be shy about sneaking a fork over. No, pasta isn’t very Mexican sounding — but Skinny’s is all about changing perceptions and having a good time. This dish works on both counts. Succulent and spicy, it’s loaded with shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops and tossed in gumbo-like menagerie of bold flavors.
Another can’t miss is Skinny’s perfectly cooked skirt steak served with a vegetable medley and a side of chimichurri sauce, which complements the steak and gives it a depth of flavor with chopped parsley and garlic.
For drinks or dinner, Skinny’s Cantina is a welcomed newcomer in L.I.C.
47-05 Center Boulevard
L.I.C., NY 11101
Current Hours (Subject to change):
Monday – Thursday, 5 – 10:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Good for Groups
Visa, American Express, Mastercard accepted