Alto Cinco

Located on the oh-so-trendy Westcott street, is one of the coolest restaurants in Syracuse, Alto Cinco. The location itself makes this Southwest-dining palace pretty awesome. It lies at the heart of Syracuse’s booming hipster hipstersom, with a grungy movie theatre and concert hall to its right, and the perfectly–shady-its-charming pizza joint to its left. Along with the current businesses on the street, Westcott is historically know as an activist, progressive, neighborhood. Why shouldn’t the food on the street be the same?

I’ve been to Alto Cinco just about once a year, for the four years I’ve been in Syracuse. It’s not a tradition, but more of my obstinacy to sample Mexican food that was not made in the Southwest. I had previously lived in Southern California, so my standards for Mexican food are pretty high. It’s just not the real thing, and I know Mexican food before there even was an Alto Cinco! (The pot calls the kettle black: I guess I’m being a hipster now, too.)

However, my last outing to Alto Cinco was pretty a’ight. I had gone on a Wednesday evening with a couple friends for a drink and a bite of food. Although I was suspect of how good it would be. For a Wednesday, there were a pretty good-sized crowd there. The seating in front of the restaurant was already taken up, the bar had a butt to every chair, and more than half the tables were taken up by couples, groups of friends, and families. Inside the restaurant, the décor and atmosphere was very artsy and laid-back. I have been in there when it gets crowded, pretty much every evening and when the University students return. Alto Cinco, thankfully, took over the property of a next-door restaurant and extended its seating. (The other restaurant, Munjed’s, moved across the street.) Seating is still pretty tight, however. We were led a brisk hostess to the extended area, which was half full, and half seated. There was an artsy mural of bottle caps that were hampered together to create the images of fish.

Our waiter came to us with a jovial smile, taking our drink orders. Most of the waiters and waitresses are not real kitchen staff, but just rock stars moonlighting as servers. I got one of the more complicated drinks, some super-refreshing mock mojito that makes me thirsty just thinking about it, and this unfortunately took pretty long to make in so that my friends were a half way done with their beverages by the time mine came. The drink, luckily, made up for the wait.

That cannot be said for the food. It is likely that my shrimp tostada took longer than the other, more simple, orders, but it still took an awful long time. Waiting has always been a problem with Alto Cinco. My shrimp tostada came out: a layered pile of slaw, rice, and other veggies on a crispy tortilla, with about five fat shrimps surrounding the small mountain. It was pretty good despite the rice (which part of me thinks is totally cheating to take up space; no one serves me rice in my tostada’s in SoCal!) Despite my rice bias, it was tasty and filling. I added a bit more salt because the flavors were a little subtle for my for my palate. The shrimps were plump and tasted great, with nice seasoning. The pineapple salsa was pleasantly tart and sweet at the same time. The dish, however, was lacking some sort of fat. Possibly sour cream or avocado, which did not come complimentary with the dish. I cannot give it a complete high five out of five.

Overall the meal was pretty solid. When reviewing Alto Cinco, despite my raves about real Mexican food, I am rating the food not as traditional Mexican food, but just as food. Also, despite my evasion of hipsters, despite being mistaken as one constantly, I am not rating Alto Cinco based on hipstery-ness either. It is a good restaurant for cool families, trendy couples, awesome friends, and adventurous individuals. Now, onward to the stars!



Share this

No Comments - Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome , today is Thursday, May 13, 2021