Mon, 5pm-11pm; Tue-Thu, 5pm-midnight; Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat, noon-3pm and 5pm-1am; Sun, noon-3pm and 5pm-11pm
L at First Ave.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
3rd St. to 14th St., Ave. D to Third Ave.
Mexico City born chef-owner Patricio Sandoval highlights the cuisine of Southern Mexico at his two tiny taquerias, one in the East Village and one on Grove Street. Each is designed with faux-worn walls and rattan placemats to conjure an Acapulco cantina of sorts. The resort-town concept feels festive, and provides a fitting backdrop for Sandoval’s boldly flavored and thoughtful variations of ceviches, botanas (snacks), and tacos. Mercadito means “little market,” but the selection here is impressive. Warm silver dollars of corn masa—like thicker, more textured mini tortillas—spread with black beans and cool crema fresca are topped with pulled chicken, skirt steak, roasted pork, or cactus leaf. More than a dozen types of soft tacos pair fillings like housemade chorizo and Manchego, fried fish of the day bathed in a smoky play on tartar sauce, and oily braised pork offset by orange segments and piquant purple onion. Diners wash down bites with individually muddled fresh fruit margaritas (a cucumber version has a chili kick). The small portions encourage sharing by cacophonous crews who retreat to the back room of the narrow East Village location; on the west side, sidewalk seating at the Grove location more than doubles the space.Drink Up
Besides wine and beer, tequila is the only liquor served.Recommended Dishes
Camaron ceviche, $11.50; picadas, $13.50; carnitas tacos, $14; margarita de fruta, $11