On Friday night, I found myself suddenly hungry after a visit to the Times Square Toys “R” Us. The area is pretty much the death valley of fine dining. The wait at Virgil’s Real Barbecue was at least 45 minutes. Next door, a Mexican guy right out of Blazing Saddles was trying to attract patrons to Viva Pancho. I was hungry enough, so I decided to take the plunge.
This was the peak pre-theater hour, and there were plenty of tables free, so I assume you can get into Viva Pancho anytime you want. The walls are covered with vintage Mexican photographs, which offer a respite from the usual Mexican restaurant décor.
The menu is 100% Mexican standards, but I went for the grilled salmon ($16), an off-menu special. You don’t expect much for an entrée under $20, but the salmon was nicely done, and it came with a serving of peas that were far more sweet and moist than usual. Among people who know me, it’s a running joke that I almost never finish the vegetables, but I really loved those peas. Rice was unremarkable, and black beans were too watery.
Sangria comes by the glass, half pitcher, or full pitcher. A half pitcher ($12.95) was enough for four glasses, and the sangria, studded with brandy, was surprisingly good.
I wouldn’t make a special trip for it, but if you’re in the neighborhood and have a Mexican craving, Viva Pancho is inexpensive and not bad at all.
Viva Pancho (156 W. 44th Street, east of Seventh Avenue, Theater District)