As one who is frequently teased for being selective about where I am “from”, e.g. California vs Connecticut, suiting the answer to the situation, I can say definitively my taste in Mexican food is CA based. That is to say I have high standards — for guacamole and carnitas especially. So far living in New York has netted some enjoyable Mexican meals, and there are a few good dishes at otherwise less than spectacular spots. I’m thinking about the salsa and steak tacos al carbon at Rancho on the upper west side for example.
But last night, I had a really remarkable meal at a place in the East Village called Mercadito. From meal start to finish:
- Although I ordered a Negra Modeldo and only sipped it from my date’s glass, the margarita was really nice. Good quality tequila with fresh fruit (mango in this case) bits.
- Guacamole comes in three flavors: traditional, mango or pineapple. I don’t like sweet in my guac, so I ordered the traditional and it was the best I’ve had in NYC. The provided chips were double thick and not the best ever, but were an adequate vehicle for big loads of fresh avocado.
- Cerviche seems to be one of the specialties, probably due to its profitability ($13.50 for less than a cup-full). Despite the small portion, the tuna variety (there were probably ten to choose from) we tried was quite good. The tuna was impeccably fresh. This time too, the flatbread cracker type thing they gave us wasn’t great, but it was hardly the point.
- Tacos are the size of those mini-cds you almost never see — say 4” diameter or so. Four came on the plate, placed in the middle of the table, meant for sharing. We had the Shrimp cama-something which was shrimp and a chipotle sauce. The shrimp were tender like a scallop and the chipotle flavor had this popping sensation in the mouth that is hard to describe and a delight to experience. And of course I seek our restaurants that serve carnitas, so I had to order it. Carnitas (shredded pork) can be made a number of ways, and this wasn’t the same style my family uses, but it was tender and flavorful with a mild green salsa and a sliver of mango. I didn’t like the idea of the mango at first, but the execution was flawless and the whole thing worked incredibly well together.
- Sorry, didn’t order dessert, but they sounded good.
</restaurant portion of review>
Went to see Erin and her Cello at the Telephone Bar. Erin is a new friend from the neighborhood and it just so happens, she is really talented and put on a fantastically entertaining show. She sang and played the cello (mostly picking/plucking whatever it’s called), while a xylophone player, percussionist (bongo + shakers and clackers n’stuff) and beat-boxer/mouth hornist backed her up. Bonus moment, the beat-boxer had to leave half way through, but gave us a rendition of Lionel Richey’s “Easy” doing the whole song, beats and lyrics simultaneously Rahzel style. She’s playing again at Telephone Bar on December 5th, “All Shows Will Begin at 9pm, and All shows are FREE.”