Creative Mexican hits Midtown
When bros team up they can reach new heights: the Coens join forces to make splendid films, and your older brothers joined forces to bury you at the beach and play "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". For a resto reaping brotherhood's delicious benefits, get to Mercadito.
From three Mexican hermanos who've tasted success with their NYC/Chicago outposts, Mercadito gets imaginative with Southern Mexican cuisine and feels like a closed-air take on an open-air market thanks to whitewashed brick walls, rope-basket lamps, and vibrant graffiti-ish murals of roosters, lucha libre masks, and neon mariachi bands reflecting life south of the border, which it turns out is about more than just M-80s and that dude in the giant sombrero. First course comes in the form of inventive guac varieties like Manzana (apple, tomatillo, almond, & habanero), ceviches including Callo (bay scallops, red apple, tomatillo, pico, key lime broth, mint), and funky salsas like Cacahuate, with grilled tomato, chile de árbol, and toasted peanuts -- watch out for Lucy in particular, she's not a nice drunk. Tacos like the Estilo Baja (beer-battered mahi, Mexican style coleslaw, chipotle aioli) and Carnitas (Michoacán-style braised berkshire pork, chile de árbol coleslaw, toasted peanuts) are the heart of the menu, abetted by larger platters like Huachinango a la Talla (guajillo-marinated whole red snapper w/ chipotle vinaigrette) and a Chile Relleno w/ scallops, shrimp, Oaxaca/Manchego cheeses, and árbol salsa all stuffed inside a pepper (they recommend Johnson over Barry, as you get more for your money).
The tequila-heavy bar's got 60 or so varieties, plus cocktails like Big Nose Goes To Mexico (blanco & reposado tequila, dark rum, guava, orgeat) and one with reposado, mango, chile morita, and a blueberry float called the Smokey Pablo -- also the guy in the Spanish version of The Big Lebowski Walter pulled la pistola on for going over the line.