My last meal in NY was just across from my hotel on the Lower East Side at Hecho en Dumbo (www.hechoendumbo.com) where the food marries traditional Mexican cuisine awesome ingredients that give it a totally modern take.
The place is simple and small with a bar up front and just over a dozen or so tables of 2 or 4. There are exposed brick walls, and while the tables have candles, the lighting levels are a bit low for menu reading; many folks were using their smartphones to read them. Paper napkins could be replaced by something cloth as the food often requires using your hands and the tacos are stuffed full, so can be messy, There are no formalities here, just great cooking in a modern take.
From 5-7pm there is a Happy Hour and I was eating early to head to the opera, so I tried the classic Margarita (all of them run $12-15 apiece) which during this time (even at the tables) are all $7 each; a steal. There is a small plate menu for happy hour as well and I tried the Tostada de Atun which is on special for $3 apiece. It was a crispy yellow torn tortilla topped with Tuna Sashimi, Spicy Aioli which has a nice lingering of spice in the mouth and Crisp Fried Leeks.
I saw two starters on the main menu and asked if they were large. The server/manager/boss(?) said they were not huge, so I said that I would try and could always order more afterwards.
Three salsas had arrived in the form of pico de gallo, a traditional red tomato that was not too spicy and a super spicy habanero tomatillo.
My first appetizer dish was the Pulpo ala Plancha which was a superb Roasted Spanish Octopus over a Garlic Anchovy and Oregano Mojo with a yummy side of Grilled Housemade Queso fresco topped with some crunchy toasted bread crumbs. It's a great pair.
Next came the Tacos de Tuetano, surely the most modern take on the dish with a small basket of yummy mini corn tortillas and ahuge plate of two huge roasted Bone Marrows and Beef Tongue with the most divine Morita Salsa on the side and a pile of tasty Caramelized Onions. It was amazing and so much fun to put the tacos together.
I was still a bit hungry so I ordered three small tacos from the taco menu and the server said I could mix them up if I wishes. GREAT!
Taco de Alcalde was filled with smoked Sable, Braised Octopus, Gulf Shrimp, Red & Yellow Pepper, Tomato, Red Onion and melted Chihuahua Cheese (I hope it wasn't made from a dog :-)))....The smokiness of the dish was amazing.
Second was Salbutes de Chochinita Pibil or Berkshire Pork with Yucatan Spice steamed in Banana Leaf over Sour Orange Juice with flash-fried yellow corn tortilla, bean puree and pickled red onion. I didn't get the orange flavor, but the tiny taco was a dream.
Last was the Taco Campechano with finely chopped cecina(salt-cured steak), chorizo, house made chicharron (pork rind) and chile de arbol and topped with chicharron salsa.
Sorry to be quick, but I gotta head home and the snow is making it hard!
All were great and I left very happy.....