Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate, for When Schnapps Just Won't Cut It
1. La Gringa800 Grand St, New York
2. The Wayland700 E 9th St, New York
3. Antojeria La Popular50 Spring St, New York
4. Dos Toros137 4th Ave, New York
5. Hecho En Dumbo354 Bowery, New York
6. El Parador Cafe325 E 34th St, New York
7. La Esquina/Corner Deli114 Kenmare St, New York
8. Mayahuel304 E 6th St, New York
Located deep in hipster-central Williamsburg, La Gringa has you covered no matter what you need, whether it's a bunch of burrito options (steak, fish, chicken, pork, etc.), Mexican soda, cheap booze ($2 beer cans), or the opportunity to use their backyard space to host your own movie-watching party/event. Although it can be hard to leave home to go out, this place will be even harder to leave.
From a duo that spent many years bartending, cooking, and consulting in the restaurant business, The Wayland is a live-music cocktail bar in the heart of Alphabet City that aces the neighborhood watering hole game. Connected to the bar is a kitchen that specializes in small plates like raw (or fried) oysters, pork belly BLTs, and fried mashed potatoes. The cocktails reflect a DIY approach, with hours of prep work just to produce house-made radish, spiced apple, and key lime-flavored bitters.
Tasty bites from all across Mexico, most meant to be eaten street-food-style (or, with your fingers as messily as possible): chilaquiles, tostadas, and ceviches. For dessert, there are refreshing La Newyorkina paletas, made in Brooklyn.
Dos Toros is the project of two brothers from California who were sorely disappointed by the lack of true West Coast burritos in NYC. Rather than fly all the way home and give up on their NY life, the pair decided to address the problem directly by opening up a number of DT shops, all serving massive, filling burritos that feature handmade tortillas, rice, beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and your choice of meat. In case you aren't looking to go into calorific shock, go relatively lighter with one of their tacos or quesadillas. And wash it down with a cold Corona, because no burrito joint is complete without a liquor license.
Despite the name, this place is actually located in Manhattan, or at least it has been since it relocated from DUMBO a few years back and moved into a Bowery location with exposed brick, dangling iron fixtures, and a stainless steel kitchen. The kitchen stays true to Mexico City cuisine, turning out a range of small plates that includes made-to-order guacamole, caramelized wagyu beef tongue, and berkshire pork with Yucatan spices. They've also got a killer brunch menu for the weekenders that features breakfast tortas, Mexican French toast (it's like the UN of breakfast plates), and more.
El Parador Cafe's an unassuming joint that's serving up authentic South-of-the-Border food. With 54 years of experience under its belt, EPC is the oldest Mexican restaurant in the city, so it must be doing something right, particularly its delicious nachos.
The outstanding tacos -- served individually -- are the real deal at this perpetually popular outpost on Kenmare. Below the taqueria is a not-so-secret secret subterranean dining room, where you can snag margaritas, queso fundido, chile relleno, and carne asada with chimichurri in a decidedly sexier environment. Search for the door with the "Employees Only" sign behind the bouncer inside.
Mayahuel elevates tequila beyond the "sloppy taco-happy-hour margarita" status it's too often given in New York. It's not much of a surprise given that this dark and sultry lounge is from the cocktail pros behind Death & Co. Expect a range of spicy and smoky tequilas and mezcals; though cocktails are the main event here, small plates like chorizo croquetas and chihuahua cheese quesadillas balance out the experience.