Playa Betty’s – Beach Food on a Very Cold Night
I love casual taco joints where you can wear your workout clothes to dinner without being judged, so when I saw Playa Betty was newly opened and always busy—I had to check it out.
I made a reservation for 8:30pm on a Friday and am glad that I did because it was PACKED. The beachy vibe wåas Californian-inspired with bright colors, surfboards and palm trees everywhere.
I immediately ordered a “Betty’s Margarita” and Guacamole 2.0. The margarita was perfectly mixed and we ended up having another round (I probably could have had another one since the service was super slow).
I usually hate DIY things, because let’s be real, it’s more work, especially when you’re hungry and like watching the waiter mix the guacamole in front of you, but I was super intrigued by this “Guacamole 2.0” where you craft your own by adding the ingredients you like. It’s great when your friend loves jalapenos and cilantro and you don’t. The chips were pretty good too.
Toppings: Tomatoes, Onions, Chiles, Jalapenos, Cilantro, Sunflower Seeds and Pomegranate Seeds
Next we got the Mexican grilled corn, which I was excited about. It came with chili aioli, lime juice, cotija cheese and crema Mexicana. It was not even close to being as good as Café Habana, La Esquina or Toro. It was kind of bland and way too creamy. I also found it bizarre the way the corn was cut.
I was also very excited to try the Baja Fish tacos, but the entire restaurant was out of fish. It’s Friday night at 8:30PM... get it together. Major fail.
We ended up getting the below assortment of tacos – I must admit, the names were very clever and I still tried to have an open mind after some disappointment.
The Marley: Jamaican style jerk chicken served with braised collard greens.
I Can Hass Taco?: Tempura battered hass avocado with black beans, jalapeño cream, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and cotija cheese.
Carne Asada: Grilled marinated skirt steak topped with onions, cilantro and lime
Southern Girl: Fried chicken with shredded lettuce, poblano chiles and jalapeño crema.
The tempura avocado and jerk chicken were great! The steak lacked flavor and was very chewy and the Southern Girl was way too fried. I could barely taste the chicken.
Again, the service was very slow. We didn’t end up leaving the restaurant until almost 10:30PM.
One thing on the menu that I am still dying to try is the "Tot"chos, which are tater tots topped with classic nacho toppings: cheese, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and veg or beef chili. I didn’t feel like being a total fat-ass this visit, but maybe if I did I would have had a better experience.
The guac, margs and a few tacos were good, but between the slow service, not having fish and the remaining tacos being mediocre, I have to give Playa Betty’s a 6/10. They have these dharma bowls where you pick a grain, meat and veggies, so maybe I’ll get that next time and give takeout a chance?
320 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023