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best authentic mexican downtown?

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thepapermonkey Mar 31, 2011 11:57 AM

suenos? or does anyone have another thought?

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  1. f
    fm1963 RE: thepapermonkey Mar 31, 2011 12:05 PM

    Alex Stupak's new Mexican restaurant, Empellon, just opened in the West Village. I have no idea if it's authentic but I thought the food was really good. The current menu though is limited to salads, queso, masa tarts, tacos, sides, and dessert.

    I do like Suenos but I haven't been there in a couple of years.

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    Suenos
    311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

    Empellon Taqueria
    230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

    6 Replies
    1. re: fm1963
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      thepapermonkey RE: fm1963 Mar 31, 2011 12:12 PM

      thanks ! what is the bar area like -- would it be a good place for a lot of people to meet for drinks/apps?

      1. re: thepapermonkey
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        fm1963 RE: thepapermonkey Mar 31, 2011 12:22 PM

        The bar area serves the full menu and would be perfect for a lot of people to meet for drinks/apps. It's very lively and the bartenders are awesome.

        1. re: fm1963
          t
          thepapermonkey RE: fm1963 Mar 31, 2011 12:57 PM

          thank you ! their website looks fantastic! appreciate the suggestion

      2. re: fm1963
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        michelleats RE: fm1963 Apr 1, 2011 01:10 PM

        Good suggestion, fm. I just tried Empellon last night. The food is very good and, I think, authentic -- or at least true to the spirit of what's being served at more modern restaurants in Mexico City. Pretty decent cocktails, as well. Noise level is a little high, but if you don't mind yelling and no one is seriously hearing impaired, it is possible to hear one another. The bar scene seems to be pretty happenin' if that's important to you, thepapermonkey.

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        Empellon Taqueria
        230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

        1. re: michelleats
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          H Manning RE: michelleats Apr 1, 2011 01:18 PM

          I liked Empellon too. Cauliflower salad and queso with black kale were excellent. Lamb tacos were very good (though a tiny bit too much orange flavor IMO). Tres leches cake was delicious. Great bar scene and staff.

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          Empellon Taqueria
          230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: H Manning
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            michelleats RE: H Manning Apr 1, 2011 01:55 PM

            Oh shoot. I'm kind of kicking myself for not saving room for dessert, H Manning. Stupak's wife (a former Babbo pastry chef) is evidently heading up that operation, but I didn't read that until after I went.

            My tongue tacos were wonderful, with big chunky cuts of tongue. And a white tuna ceviche was also very good, even though i don't usually like that style. (The ceviche was slightly creamy and more sweet than acidic, a style I usually associate with Peruvian cuisine, though I'm not sure if that's an accurate association.) I only tried a bite of my dining companions' lamb tacos, but didn't detect much orange at all in their batch. I'm guessing the seasoning's a bit uneven.

            Good place. I can see myself doing a lot of shuttling back and forth between Empellon and Fedora, across the street, depending on which restaurant is less busy.

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            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            Fedora
            239 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            Empellon Taqueria
            230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

      3. g
        gutsofsteel RE: thepapermonkey Mar 31, 2011 12:19 PM

        Barrio Chino

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        Barrio Chino
        253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

        4 Replies
        1. re: gutsofsteel
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          DivGuy RE: gutsofsteel Mar 31, 2011 01:13 PM

          I'd go with Barrio Chino first, too - they make a very good mole.

          Mercadito Cantina in the East Village as my favorite of the upscale-ish taquerias. The Tacos Morelos truck at 3rd and A is a good quick eat.

          "Authentic" is one of those words I never know precisely what people are looking for. These places all serve tasty food with distinctly Mexican flavors. I've had better Mexican food in Sunset Park, which was probably also more "authentic", but the key issue is the quality for me, more than the "authenticity."

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          Barrio Chino
          253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

          Mercadito
          179 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

          Tacos Morelos
          2nd Street and Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

          1. re: DivGuy
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            thepapermonkey RE: DivGuy Mar 31, 2011 01:35 PM

            good point - authentic to me means not "americanized mexican" where every dish looks the same with a sea of melted cheese over the top ! quality, distinctly mexican flavor....is what I was hoping for... and really great margaritas!

            1. re: DivGuy
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              small h RE: DivGuy Mar 31, 2011 04:39 PM

              I like Barrio Chino lots, but I see the OP is looking for a bar area for "a lot of people to meet." Barrio Chino is very small and gets very crowded.

              1. re: small h
                t
                thepapermonkey RE: small h Mar 31, 2011 05:12 PM

                yes -- actually about 20 people ! so hard to find fun space, with big enough bar and good food that won't break the bank!

          2. g
            geeksaregoodfun RE: thepapermonkey Apr 1, 2011 12:01 PM

            Sorry - I don't know enough about authentic but I've been to Hecho en Dumbo (Bowery) and Fonda Nolita Tacombi (Elizabeth St) - very enjoyable and very good food.

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            Hecho en Dumbo
            354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

            Tacombi
            267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

            6 Replies
            1. re: geeksaregoodfun
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              michelleats RE: geeksaregoodfun Apr 1, 2011 02:15 PM

              Great handle. :) I agree.

              Can you tell me about Fonda Nolita Tacombi? I haven't heard about it at all, though I trust it's good. What do you like there and what do you think they do particularly well?

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              Tacombi
              267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

              1. re: michelleats
                g
                geeksaregoodfun RE: michelleats Apr 1, 2011 05:27 PM

                Thx :)

                Tacombi is a neat space - u walk thru metal doors and enter a good-sized open space with an old VW van - totally laid back, beach vibe. You walk up to a counter and buy tokens which are then redeemed for food / beverages ($5-10 each). There are a bunch of loosely arranged square four-seater tables and then some bar-like (standing only) tables. I went on a Saturday morning for some post-shopping sustenance and it was super relaxed. The food was fresh and flavorful, they do not have an extensive menu and it feels like you're getting a snack at a food truck at a beach. Good place for groups / snack food. Not really a shrine to culinary skills but thats not what the place is about. I like the little details, the laid back vibe and the fresh food there. Would go back for a casual, low stress bite..

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                Tacombi
                267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: geeksaregoodfun
                  m
                  michelleats RE: geeksaregoodfun Apr 1, 2011 10:21 PM

                  I love low-key places with good, fresh, simple food. Your description has me sold. (Except for the token part... What if you don't want to order food in $5 or $10 increments? Shenanigans! :)

              2. re: geeksaregoodfun
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                small h RE: geeksaregoodfun Apr 1, 2011 03:10 PM

                Did you eat at the bar at Hecho en Dumbo? I liked the food there quite a bit, but the bar staff seemed primarily interested in staring into space, rather than serving food (or even making eye contact). I'd go back if they've managed to rouse themselves from their stupor.

                1. re: small h
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                  geeksaregoodfun RE: small h Apr 1, 2011 05:40 PM

                  Went there early on a weeknight (7 ish) and so avoided the prime time crush. There is a bar space in front, tables in between, and then counter seating all the way at the back. I went on a night when there was a bunch of trendy-ish twenty-somethings celebrating some sort of birthday. So it was a tad noisy in the bar area, but we were seated at the tables and it was fine. Service was reliable. It seemed like a popular date place an no one seemed rushed. They were responsive when we wanted stuff but left us in peace :)

                  1. re: geeksaregoodfun
                    s
                    small h RE: geeksaregoodfun Apr 1, 2011 06:36 PM

                    Ah, so you were at the tables. I was there at an off-time, at the front bar, a few days after they opened, and I'm neither trendy nor twenty-something. It sounds as though they've gotten their act together somewhat. Good to know.

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