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New Mexican Restaurant Picks

Seeing Double:Creative quesadillas at Mexican Sandwich Company. (Photo by Kenneth Chen)

Café Mexicano
671 Union Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Two-dollar tamales and superior café con leche are reason enough to patronize this seven-seat sliver of a Park Slope café, but happily for local fans of the cheap, delicious Mexican snacks called antojitos, the dexterous kitchen doesn’t stop there. Zesty avocado salad ($4.25) is enlivened with lime juice and cilantro. Pressed sandwiches ($5.75 to $6.50) are stuffed with savory fillings like chicken mole and roast-pork guajillo. Corn masa is put to every conceivable use—most of them involving sour cream, Oaxacan cheese, black beans, and tangy tomatillo salsa. Thirst-quenchers like lime lemonade and tamarind water are made in-house, as is cinnamon-spiced Mexican hot chocolate, served in rough earthenware mugs.

Itzocan Café
438 East 9th Street

Tex-Mex you’ve heard of, but French-Mex? That’s the best way to describe the offbeat fusion perpetrated at this unexpectedly gourmet hole-in-the wall. The Puebla-born chefs (who happen to be brothers) picked up a few tricks working at French bistros around town, which accounts for the asparagus “a la plancha” with mango and Oaxaca cheese in passion-fruit vinaigrette ($6), the inspired combination of huitlacoche and truffle oil in the signature soufflé cakes ($6), and specials like roast leg of lamb stuffed with feta and spinach in merlot-pasilla jus ($14.50). For dessert? Blue-corn crêpes, of course.

Mexican Sandwich Company
322 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Technically a misnomer, the name of this high-concept cantina refers not to the traditional Mexican torta but rather to creative, multicultural takes on double-decker quesadillas. We’re partial to wild plum and brie with double-smoked bacon, caramelized red onion, and lavender-chili honey ($8), and barbecued duck confit with Cheddar, spicy mango salsa, and blood-orange-chili purée ($9). But that’s just us. If you prefer, you can keep it simple by customizing your own with add-on delicacies like pickled jalapeños, chorizo, and chipotle shrimp.