419 Beach 129th St., Rockaway Beach
Credit Cards: Accepts all major credit cards
Reservations: Available by phone
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday – 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Pico in Rockaway Beach provides excellent Mexican-American fair with a beach neighborhood vibe that welcomes everyone inside.
On a busy Friday night there are plenty of staff on the floor and behind the bar to talk about the restaurant and create the banter anyone would hope for in a neighborhood bar with good ambiance.
One of their most popular dishes is the pastrami tortas con carne, a non-traditional dish Catherine Grady, assistant manager, points out that, “only three Irish guys could come up with.” The three Irish guys she referred to are the owners, Christopher Miles, Bill Keating Sr. and Bill Keating Jr.
She said their original restaurant, which was more of a high-end special occasion place was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy and they re-imagined the business as more accessible to the neighborhood. They re-opened on Oct. 17, 2013. Since then she said, “We’re six times as busy.”
She looks around the restaurant to point to staffers that she has known since childhood and looks at customers the same way, “Half the people here, I know what they want as soon as they come in.”
To start, everyone should have their signature guacamole with crabmeat. No matter how full you get during the meal, you will not stop asking for more tortilla chips and guacamole.
The next appetizer favorite to try is the thick cut honey chipotle glazed bacon. It is every bit as delectable as those six words sound. The next appetizer is called Elote, which is grilled corn on the cob covered in cotija cheese and drizzled with a chipotle aioli. It’s a delicious starter that doesn’t make you feel like you’re indulging.
And then there are the Shrimp Empanadas stuffed with onions, peppers, and cheddar served with a mango lime sauce, a starter that goes well with one of the bar’s many craft beer selections on tap. The bartenders point out that the owners often change the draft beers to compliment the dinner specials.
Grady describes the restaurant’s cuisine as “non-traditional” Mexican food and boasts that the secret to their delicious food is that “it’s not complicated, all the ingredients are fresh and made every day.”
Pico is also famous for their delicious cocktails, the most popular is Fire’s Out, a fiery drink that customers often forget the name to and come in off the street asking, “Can I have three spicys please?”
Their popular brisket is cooked for 12 hours, a care all New Yorkers know is essential to a succulent brisket.
In the end, save room for dessert because the melt in your mouth cinnamon bread pudding is topped with vanilla ice cream and the Tres Leche cake is like heaven.