Don Juan in Long Beach (Give us your reviews!) [Updated with my mini-review]

Updated: I went to Don Juan’s Saturday night and here is my mini-review:

We ordered the side-table guacamole appetizer. We just said “add everything.” I would have loved it to be a little bit more spicy, but I was at the mercy of 3 other people and had to compromise. I really liked the guacamole – you can’t go wrong with garlic, avocados, various peppers and lime. My friend made a hilarious comment how the basket the chips came in looked like it was weaved with weed wacker wire. It really did!

We also got sweet plantains which were really good too. Ay! Caramba (6 W. Park Ave) might have better ones, but I’m not a plantain- connoisseur, so you be the judge.

For the main course I got the Steak Ranchero, which wasn’t perfect. The sauce was a little too thin and needed more spice. The meat was a lot rarer than what I ordered, but not rare enough for me to complain. My wife questioned whether or not some pieces of chicken with mole sauce were cooked all the way. She just avoided a few. I’m a sucker for anything chocolate, so I actually liked the mole sauce. It’s been a while since I had it, so I had nothing to compare it to. On the side came beans and rice, which were just that – beans and rice. I’ve had better, but who cares.

I did love the frozen mango sangria served in a salty glass. Yummy. It was really good. Don Juan knows how to make drinks, but I remember their former Westbury location was a place where many people would go and get shitfaced, so I’m not surprised.

Will I go back? I wanted better, but I’ll try them again. They’re new, so it’s only fair to give them some time to get into a routine. Overall my experience was above average, plus they’re walking distance away and you can’t beat that. For that type of mex place, it’s much better than Pancho’s in Island Park where my wife found a screw in her food and the manager didn’t give two shits about it. “Subpar Mexican food for the gringo” was how Brian in the comments of this post called it. True – I’ll go to Don Juan not looking for anything authentic, but I like white person mexican food.

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Don Juan (124 E. Park Avenue) has been open for about a month now. Has anybody tried it yet? What do you think?

How does it compare to other similar establishments like Ay Caramba (6 W Park Ave, Long Beach), The Cabana (1034 W Beech St, Long Beach), or even Pancho’s Cantina in Island Park?

Don Juan’s reviews on yelp have been mixed, but I haven’t tried it yet myself. I peaked inside to grab a takeout menu (which weren’t available at the time), but the place does look beautiful.

Don Juan
124 E Park Ave
Long Beach, NY 11561
(516) 442-4944
http://www.donjuanny.com/
 

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26 thoughts on “Don Juan in Long Beach (Give us your reviews!) [Updated with my mini-review]”

  1. My husband and have been going to the other to Don Juan’s in Westbury. just about once a week and have been doing this for the past 3 years. The food is always fresh and awesome, and the margaritas are absolutely delicious. The staff is friendly and attentive. (Lalo is our favorite waiter.) We like to go during the week when it isn’t so busy. They have great prices, impeccably clean, good food, friendly service.The staff knows us there and always greets us with warm smiles.
    The chips here are absolutely delicious – their salsa is some of the best I’ve had at any Mexican restaurant anywhere.
    The nachos supreme is our favorite app and we recommend the tacos al carbon as an entree, and the Steak and Shrimp Fajita combo is always delicious.
    The food is always good and with just the right amount of spices b/c it is more Authentic Mexican food then you’d find in the typical American Tex-Mex places or in the common restaurants. We will definitely be going to the new Long Beach branch
    And by the way, their flan is the best flan that I have ever had. You have to try it.

  2. I thought this place was great, especially for a neighborhood with so many other choices of restaurants.. The guacamole here is as good as it gets
    The food was really good quality and prepared well, I was really happy

  3. The location in Westbury has been closed for about a year now, but they do have a location in Massapequa Park. I just remember it being much better than Pancho’s. Similar style food, but much better.

  4. The food is decent and not over-priced which helps. Very similar quality to Pancho’s. The sangria barely had any alcohol in it, which was disappointing.

  5. Brian, it’s funny. Now that I think about it, Don Juan in Westbury was pretty good like 15+ years ago. Last time I went was maybe 5 years ago when they opened that bar next door and it was terrible. I have no idea how the location in Long Beach is, but I hope it’s better.

  6. went there Wed nite. Food was amazing! Had the skirt steak which was a bit too rare. I asked if they could cook it a bit more & they brought me a whole new plate of food! Staff & service were also great & yes, their flan was the best I’ve had in ages. All food was fresh, not pre-prepared like Panchos.

  7. I ate there last weekend as well and really enjoyed it. We had some of the best Mexican food that we had in a long time. Bravo to their Chef

  8. Ate there last night. Food was so salty we didn’t eat all of our main courses. Mole sauce was disappointing- lacked textures and was thin. We also tried Carne a la Tampiquena that was covered in what tasted like a week tomato sauce which smothered any flavor from the strip steak. The description of the sauce on the menu did not match the reality of the flavors. Really not a good recipe….and why would you cover a steak up completely with sauce? Drizzled it over, zig zag it or whatever – just leave some of the steak peeking out. The rice was OK but the refried beans had too much cheese on them. We couldn’t even figure out what was going on with the enchilada that came alongside the steak. It tasted like negative anything. This was a $25 dish that tasted like $12.

    Overall the food was lackluster and no different than what I’d expect from a chain restaurant.

    The server was nice but had poor suggestions due to not having tried everything on the menu. Suggesting fajitas? Really, fajitas are boring. Upsell something more interesting! She was super personable otherwise and was probably the only saving grace of the entire meal.

    The (red) sangria had no oompf to it and had diced green apples. Really, use some imagination, color and variety with the sangria. So many ripe fruits to accent a pitcher- when I see green apples I see standard and lazy. The mix itself was drinkable but not pitcher worthy. Also, they need to reset their ice machine for larger cubes. Even with the AC blasting, the drinks watered down quickly with small cubes. Ice cube sizes are the most overlooked part of a bar.

  9. Having table side guacamole is great but making guac with a metal tablespoon in a plastic bowl should be scrapped. Get a proper guac mortar and pestle setup.

  10. I find that just about all of the “New” so called Mexican restaurants that have been springing up lately are that way ( pretty Poor). They say that Mexican Food is now the most popular ethnic food in the USA so many of these places are just taking advantage of that fact.
    But in reality, they are mostly pretty bad.
    In my opinion.that goes for all of them in Long Beach as well as the ones in Island Park, and that’s just my opinion., I don’t find any of them “authentic”

  11. Meh, nothing crazy, then again its tex-mex, how different can it be than the others? enchiladas are enchiladas. service was spoty and food came out intermittently hopefuly they work out the kinks.

  12. I liked it. I get that it’s not “authentic” Mexican food, but that’s a rare find on long island. The service was good, although I could tell they were a little scattered. They did not make the guac at the table, so I was disappointed with that, but I assume that was done to make service easier? The food was very good. Slightly better than Panchos, 100 times better than Cabana. Everybody at the table was very happy with their meals. I’m happy it’s in Long Beach.

  13. I’ve been here multiple times already. Maria’s special was phenomenal and the shrimp in red sauce was really good too. They definitely have the best happy hour in lb with half price beer and house drinks and a free buffet. Awesome place to hang with some friends at their large bar. Nicole the blonde bartender is one of the hardest workers I’ve seen as well as fast. The key to having a margarita here is seeing that she makes it for you. I told her to make me something special. She made me an 1800 coconut margarita. WOW was it delicious. I don’t know what exactly she put in it but it was awesome. Not to mention shes easy on the eyes and great to have a conversation with when she’s not too busy hustling orders. Overall I’d suggest you stop by this new place at least for a drink

  14. Allison made some very good points, she sounds as if she is a Restaurant Owner, Manager, Waitress, or a Bartender, but she knows her stuff.
    I should know because I am a Restaurant Owner.
    As for this place, I won’t comment until I try it. Bus as someone else here has said,
    “Mexican Food is now the most popular ethnic food in the USA so many of these places are just taking advantage of that fact”

    “We see that with all the new Mexican concepts that have been popping up all over the area.
    But in reality, they are mostly pretty bad.”

    I won’t comment on this place as I haven’t yet tried it. But it’s true that the Mexican concept is popping up all over the area these days, and mostly none are worth their weight in Beans.

  15. Jeesh this place has a lot of reviews!
    My wife and I ate here recently. And yes,it’s only been open about months or so, but the place was packed when we were there.
    The menu is appealing and imaginative, and it seems like there is something for everyone. Although the service was a little slow we really enjoyed our food .

    First the Good: The guacamole was delicious. Their enchiladas and burritos are delicious. The burrito is filled with tender grilled chicken, homemade guacamole, homemade Spanish rice, sour cream Delicious! It Stole the show: As were the chile rellenos and the enchiladas.

    Now the Bad:, The rice was bad, as well as the beans, how can a Mexican place ruin that? . The Mole was a disappointment because of the quality of the chicken it was served with… Def supermarket quality chicken, which can be good if marinated well, but this was bland. And yes the Sangria was disappointing.

    We didn’t get to have dessert, but seeing it float around on trays to other tables it looked pretty good. There were several things on the menu that I want to go back and try, and I’m sure we will.

    All in all a pretty enjoyable dining experience. With all the new Mexican or so- called Mexican places that are opening , I’d give this one a try.

  16. I’m going to be honest, 20 minute wait (For an opening weekend night was expected) They’re obviously still getting things together on the floor, I was literally asked a Loaded Question by a sweaty, and impulsive manager who clearly had an agenda (Or maybe the owner): “The Food is Delicious …. Isn’t It?”
    Why is he asking me, is he hungry?
    The Fried Calamari was a disappointment to me (My girlfriend tried calamari for the very first time, and was happy that the friedness concealed the squishiness of the squid just enough to make it enjoyable…. for Her)… I just looked at the plate and was totally unsatisfied with what was obviously cheap frozen calamari (If you have a dish of only “0-rings” and no tentacles it’s a sign you are eating frozen…. I doubt the chef took the time (opening weekend night) to deliberately pick out the tentacles (Which happen to be my favorite part of calamari).

    We also had nachos which were fair. It was tortilla chips, cheese, refried beans, and lowly jarred jalapeno peppers.

    I read the menu online before in the day, and I recommended to my GF the Don Juan Salmon as an entree, she enjoyed it, and I tried it, it was delicious!

    I on the other hand made the very unfortunate decision of ordering the flavorless fish tacos. I couldn’t believe how I was holding something that looked so appealing, but had NO smell, and worst of all tasted like just avocado and cabbage.
    (Also I’ll make this audit of their service/presentation: We were never given lemon with The Calamari, The Salmon, And the Fish Tacos)
    Drinks we ordered a Banana Frozen Margarita, and Strawberry Margarita, The Former was the lesser of the two. It wasn’t bad though, but for the price I shouldn’t have had to settle for “Fine, it wasn’t bad.”
    I kind of set myself up for disappointment, it’s a bad move going to a restaurant on its first week, I asserted that this business has had several restaurants notched in their belt, and I figured maybe 4-5 days tops to work out the kinks, I’m probably going to wait until I hear something positive from one of my friends before I go back, That sweaty/testy manager had a negative resonance with my experience.
    If we’re comparing it to Panchos, Panchos has less of a wait, more options, better food, Same cost or less expensive even.
    My favorite is, and probably always will be Aye Curamba,…even though they don’t serve rice and beans + a Salad with every single quessidila/burrito they Used to make :-/
    Don’t get me wrong that’s only because Panchos was mentioned earlier. For Full Disclosure I have no affiliation with panchos or Aye Curamba.

  17. ^ The manager dude said the same thing to us.
    When we ordered our apps and drinks, we wanted to hold the menu to read it further and pick a meal when our order arrived. The waitress looked around quickly and said it was ok to hold them but if the manager comes over tell him we wanted to hold the menus so she doesn’t get in trouble.

    I think that comment- that fear of the boss- really impacted our dinner. Not that she said those things outloud but that something like holding menus could potentially get the waitress in trouble. I know that type of boss, I’ve been in that position and you know what? It sucks. On behalf of all service industry people with the weight of their creepy boss over their shoulders – fuck you creepy manager guy.

    I’d rather eat shitty food in a good environment than a superb one in a hostile environment.

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