Casa Enrique: NYC's Least Expensive Michelin Restaurant

Dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant doesn't mean you have to blow the entire month's entertainment budget. Thanks to restaurants like Casa Enrique, it is possible to sample multiple courses ranked favorably by Michelin reviewers without needing to fork over several Benjamins at the end of the evening.

Since 2015, Casa Enrique has been a frequent Michelin star winner, cementing its reputation as one of the top restaurants in New York City. The dining spot is helmed by chef Cosme Aguilar, who grew up with the flavors of his mother's cooking in Chiapas, Mexico. Upon arriving in the United States in 1998, Aguilar trained in a French restaurant, where he began developing the culinary talents that would eventually land him a position as executive chef at another establishment.

When presented with the opportunity to open a restaurant that served dishes from his upbringing, the chef was initially unsure but later became eager to bring his home's cuisine to New York City. Casa Enrique opened in 2012, and Aguilar's cooking has been lauded ever since.

"One can literally taste the regions and cities that Chef Cosme Aguilar's menu explores," Michelin Guide states. "And many dishes honor his mother's memory with recipes from his childhood."

Prime flavors at affordable prices

The cozy, compact Long Island City restaurant, which has earned the reputation of being New York City's least expensive Michelin-starred restaurant, serves flavorful Mexican recipes like slow-cooked brisket tacos and enchilada platters. While walk-ins are welcomed, reservations for dinner can be easily made online.

Starting at $16, tacos with homemade chorizo, mesquite-seasoned chicken, and pineapple-marinated pork are served — and there are beer-battered fish and vegan options for non-meat eaters. For heartier dishes, there are enchilada platters priced at $25. Each one is served with black beans, crema fresca, queso fresco, and avocado. The Doña Blanca, in particular, features a presentation of roasted poblanos and onion rolled into corn tortillas.

Entrées like the mole de Piaxtla – a chicken and rice dish that costs $27 and is covered in mole sauce made with peppers, almonds, raisins, plantains, sesame seeds, and chocolate — are sure to satisfy hungry diners. And carne asada, skirt steak marinated in tequila, can be sliced into for less than $40.

While main courses are perfectly seasoned, you'll want to save room for dessert. For only $10 each, pastel tres leches, a sponge cake made with three kinds of milk topped with goat milk caramel, and chocolate pot de creme, chocolate custard served with whipped cream and Maria cookies, make the perfect finishing touch to meals. After spooning up every last morsel, diners at Casa Enrique can comfortably and confidently ask for the bill knowing that this Michelin star-worthy restaurant won't completely empty their wallets.