Mon-Thu, 5pm-11pm; Fri, 4pm-midnight; Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm
4, 5, 6 at 86th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
76th St. to 96th St., East End Ave. to Fifth Ave.
Vibrant shades of peach and aqua enliven this Mexican restaurant and cantina, matched by fiery food and a chatty, care-free crowd spanning recent grads and parents liberated for the evening. Tightly packed tables make use of every possible outdoor inch, with numerous others strewn about two inner rooms, done up in Southwest style. Evocative details recur throughout, from ceramic tiles and colored glass bottles to tissue paper flowers peeking out of wall sconces to watermelons that pop up in paintings and as wooden figurines. An open archway framed by stencils of bird connects to the buzzing bar area, strung with tiny, low-hanging blue lights and rendered even noisier by a TV. Wherever you settle, someone in your party should be required to order (and share) the fabulous, addiction-forming mole poblano: slices of moist chicken breast sprinked with sesame seeds and slathered in a rich blend of seven distinct chilis and dark bittersweet chocolate. Its spiciness creeps up on you. Shrimp supplies the main seafood options and there are plenty of well-executed enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos, like the tanque verde pork burritos cooked in a milder green sauce and topped with gobs of melted cheese and sour cream. Wash it down with Maz Mezcal's killer frozen margaritas in coconut, mango, and other fun flavors.Brunch
Sat.—Sun., noon—3 p.m.Recommended Dishes
Ceviche de camaron, $9.95; tanque verde burritos, $17.95; mole poblano, $19.95