Sun-Wed, 5pm-11pm; Thu-Sat, 5pm-midnight
C, E at 50th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Fresh, flavorful cuisine with a seasonal bent draws crowds to this Mexican-fusion sleeper in Hell's Kitchen. A glass wall looks onto an unexpectedly picturesque slice of Ninth Avenue, and streams light into the warm, casual dining room where vintage travel posters adorn exposed-brick and bright, maize-colored walls. It's a lively space, with tables and taupe banquettes shoved together (a bit too closely) and a tiled bar running the room's length. But judging by the crowds, no one minds squeezing in, especially when the fare is this consistently satisfying and beautifully presented. During the summer months, the chef likes to experiment with the smoky flavors associated with grilling, layering it with varying intensities of heat and a bounty of market produce. Kernels of corn sweetly dot the creamy tang of an artichoke quesadilla, while a tres leches cake soaked in rum and topped with cherries is simply sinful. Accordingly, the menu warms up in the winter, with substantial dishes like a satisfying pork stew sopped up by starchy polenta. A variety of sangrias, margaritas, and well-mixed specialty cocktails kick off the celebration.Recommended Dishes
Artichoke quesadilla, $9; tres leches cake, $7