Having a party-animal rep's fun for a while, but eventually you'll want to turn to more adult pursuits, like when Traci Lords decided to turn 18. Renewing food focus while not totally forsaking getting dirty, Alma, opening 2/1.
After a long run with Cuba Libre, Tristan Simon shuttered the two-story fiest-aurant, brought in the head chef from LA's Red O to create a regional Mexican menu, and's now reopening as an intimate eatery furnished with neat square wooden tables, unvarnished floors, whitewashed plank walls, and giant hanging globe lights -- thank god Shakespearean audiences didn't have those, or they'd have seen that Juliet was a dude! Culinary veracity plays out in everything from the cheese (from Waco's Mennonite-run Homestead Heritage Farms, as M-nite immigrants actually inspired Chihuahua and other Northern Mexico varieties -- the more you know), to the tortillas (they bought their own grinder to make the maza in-house), to the chocolate in the mole, which is imported from an Oaxacan village, but not The Village, because Bryce Dallas Howard can't be depended on to find the mailbox. The "social-menu" (big plates made for sharing) gets Veracruzian via bouillabaisse-esque chilpachotle (teeming with mussels, scallops & shrimp) and Oaxacan with cochinita pibil, a pork shank smoked with banana leaves and achiote to render it meat-off-the-bone tender; meanwhile, the build-your-own al carbon plate puts a taco-bar's worth of gourmet fixins on your table, while the enchiladas are built in layers like lasagna, sure to send fusion lovers skipping through Garfields of joy.
Downstairs is res-recommended, but the den-like upstairs lounge, decked out S'western-chic with shellacked wood and a giant antler chandelier, is walk-in, and slings handcrafted cocktails -- designed by NYC's vaunted Cuffs & Buttons -- including La Patada (blanco tequila, chipotle-infused mezcal, pineapple syrup & juice, handpressed cilantro) and the Sangre Maria, a tequila Bloody made by smoking tomatoes, also an adult movie ratings site that really likes Trac'is early work.