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MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR

The Brooklyn Paper
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Cantina Mexican Bar & Restaurant brings a little sizzle and a lot of flare to the gentle streets of Park Slope. Having opened in early June, it is quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite with its nightly margarita happy hours and home-style Mexican cooking.

The menu is laden with south of the border favorites - fajitas, enchiladas, empanadas and nachos - as well as several departures from the usual, such as the huachinago al ajillo, red snapper served with a garlic sauce, black beans and rice.

Cantina’s soups are luxuriously rich and creamy. For a real treat, try chef Agustin Garcia’s sopa de frijol negro, a black bean soup that will leave you wondering if this restaurant doesn’t belong in SoHo.

"Some of our dishes are cooked with white tequila to add extra flavor," says owner Esteban Chauca, who boasts a cache of more than 26 different kinds of tequila behind the bar. With 18 years of restaurant experience, Chauca, also a co-owner of Manhattan’s La Margarita, knows how to make customers happy.

"Some of the customers ask for special brands of tequila and we try to stock them," he says.

Those that come for the food are usually tempted to stay for drinks. With 12 flavors of margaritas, all half-price during happy hour from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm daily, patrons often stay to sit at the bar and admire the sleek, modern decor or lounge outside on the sidewalk patio. And one shouldn’t miss the mariachi band on Friday nights. The romantic Mexican serenades befit this elegant, candlelit bistro.

Cantina, 494 Fourth Ave. between 11th and 12th streets in Park Slope, accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. Cantina is open daily, from noon to 1 am. Entrees: $6.95-$14.95. For more information, call (718) 369-5850.


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