While other regional cuisines have scaled the heights of New York's culinary landscape, Southwestern grub sits on the sidelines, sadly stuffing itself into novelty frozen egg rolls. Finally breaking the cycle, Piquant, soft opening this weekend.

Overhauling the airy bi-level space that once was Mitchell's, Piq's West Texas-born chef's compiled an ambitious menu of legitimately-from-scratch, Mexican-influenced faves studded with high-falutin' touches, served up in surroundings marked by muted green/red/yellow tones, exposed brick, wall-mounted candles, two generous wooden bars, paper lantern-style ceiling lights, and a rock waterfall jazzing up a sizable, tree-lined back patio, proving that everything is indeed bigger in Brooklyn. Kicking things off're apps like lump crab quesadillas w/ sherried black bean sauce, flautas stuffed with slow-roasted brisket, corn tamales w/ duck confit and mole poblano, plus four soups (e.g., corn chowder w/ cotija baked tortilla strips) and ceviches (tequila-cured salmon...); if forced to share, trays of soft tacos can be stuffed with grilled mahi, tri-tip steak, etc., while sliders range from ancho molasses bbq sauced pulled pork, to crab cake with jalapeno tartar, to brisket with salsa Coloradito, a perennial all-star in the Brazilian condiment soccer league. Upping the ambition, mains include red snapper Bolero w/ white wine cream sauce and haricot vert, grilled lamb chops sided with chipotle polenta and mint garlic guajillo sauce, beef short ribs plated w/ a cabernet/cascabel chili reduction, and a 22oz "cowboy steak" sided with paddle cactus "nopal" -- maybe it'd have some friends if it stopped being such a prickly pear. Yeah...

To wash it all down they're pouring four margarita styles, specialty 'tails like the Bombay/cucumber/lemon/mint simple syrup Glorietta and the head-kicking vodka/gin/151/triple sec/sour mix/cactus pear puree New Mexico Red Eye, and tasting flights from an expansive menu of tequilas, the very spirit that has so often left you sidelined, unable even to stuff yourself with novelty egg rolls.