May 24, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A restaurant focused on high-end Mexican cuisine opened on 30 Avenue in Astoria last month.
Hoja Santa, located at 40-17 30 Ave., offers elevated versions of traditional Mexican fare, and focuses on artistic presentation of the dishes as well.
The 1,500 square foot locale, which officially opened on April 20, is owned by 22-year-old Forest Hills resident Carolina Parroquin and managed by her father, Mauricio Parroquin.
The restaurant’s name Hoja Santa, which means “sacred leaf” in Spanish, is an aromatic Mexican pepper leaf that is heart shaped and traditionally used to make tamales, a traditional Mexican dish.
The family said it aims to bring traditional Mexican flavors to Astoria in the most sophisticated form. The interior decor has a modern Mexican feel.
“There are restaurants in Manhattan with different interpretations of Mexican food but there was a gap that needed to be filled in Astoria,” Mauricio said.
“Usually people think Mexican food has to be spicy or greasy,” said Mauricio. “We select the best parts of traditional Mexican flavors and make little changes to make flavor softer and refine the ingredients.”
Unique dishes the locale offers include: Pastel Azteca, a dish consisting of layers of corn tortillas, seafood such as shrimp, calamari, and octopus, melted cheese, and green poblano sauce, made from poblano peppers. Another specialty dish is Carnitas de Pato, which consists of tacos that contain shredded duck, roasted with flavors of cinnamon and orange.
The restaurant’s chipotle scallop dish is also popular, featuring sea scallops sautéed in olive oil and onions with a rich and smoky chipotle pepper sauce.
Mauricio said that he has applied for a full liquor license and is waiting on the State Liquor Authority to sign off on it. In the interim, he is offering a few specialty non-alcoholic beverages.
Drinks of this variety include different flavors of Agua Fresca, a drink that is made by blending water and fruits with lime juice and sugar; as well as Horchata, a cold traditional Mexican drink that is made by soaking rice overnight and combining the rice milk with water, condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Owner Carolina Parroquin, a recent graduate from Baruch Business School, says she knows a lot about the restaurant industry since her father owned eateries while she grew up.
Carolina’s father was the previous owner of the now closed Fiesta Mexicana on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and Taco Fiesta on Queens Boulevard in Corona.
“Although I am young, I am very familiar with the business being that I grew up in my father’s restaurants,” Carolina said. “I feel well prepared to run this restaurant with my background in business entrepreneurship and management with the help of my team.”
The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Does anyone know Carolina’s @?
They don’t have a liquor license, and won’t allow BYOB. Not smart for a Mexican restaurant.
I pass by this restaurant almost daily. I wish they would post a menu in the window. I have no idea what is being offered nor the price range.
Why would I want to pay more money for Mexican food that I can get for cheaper price and better authentic taste at a small mom and pop family run Mexican restaurant where I don’t have to pay more than $10 for a meal??
Eaters love Mexican Food! Its a shame that we do not have a Taco Bell for most of the locals around here who are on a budget.
1. Taco Bell is not mexican, it’s tex-mex, at best.
2. There’s one literally a block away from the place.
“There are restaurants in Manhattan with different interpretations of Mexican food but there was a gap that needed to be filled in Astoria” Ummmm that gap didn’t need to be filled anywhere. If the food is good, people will eat there.
I wish them the best of luck and that they may finally be able to break the curse of that location.
In the past 10 years there have been at least 5 incarnations of different businesses opening (and closing quickly after) on that corner. Some were not exactly the greatest formulas in my humble opinion, but few others were excellent in the food department, the service and the ambience. There is just something going on with that particular spot…..
mexican fine dining, this is already confusing the hell out of me
You’ve never heard of, say, the Queens Mexican restaurant Casa Enrique? They have a Michelin star. You should get out more.
Great that you have that much disposable income to eat out as much as you like. I prefer the taco trucks after I drink myself into oblivion. Delicious food made by wonderful Mexican people without the pretense of “fine dining” associated with it.
I can also get pizza but that doesn’t mean we don’t need Del Posto.
You can get a MacFish sandwich so who needs Le Bernardin?
Choices are good.
Mexican food is one of the world’s great cuisines.
It’s regional and complex and there’s no reason it shouldn’t also be fine dining.