The Lower East Side, like Queens, has a rich history as an immigrant haven. The neighborhood has been labeled German, Eastern European, Italian, Chinese, and Dominican -- so it’s no surprise that the area has one of the most diverse food-scapes in the city. Nowadays, it’s perhaps most notable for its post-frat population, but the international food culture remains. Patacon Pisao is a case in point.
Velazquez’s Essex Street outpost has a modest appearance, with a narrow brick facade and a neon-wire sign flashing the restaurant’s name. But the real attraction is the food, still made to the original recipes. Beyond the classic patacones, Velazquez serves handmade corn arepas stuffed with steak and egg, tacuchos (which fall somewhere between tacos and burritos), and best of all, tequeños -- delicate braids of dough and queso blanco, perfectly fried. And did we mention they’re only $2 an order?