A Mexican spot on Stanton Street serving all the standards (tacos, burritos, enchiladas) — plus lethal margaritas. Don’t expect speedy or attentive service, but if you don’t mind waiting, it’s a good time.
117 Stanton, at Essex
Hours Daily 11am-11pm
Traditional Mexican with fresh lime margaritas.
205 Allen St., nr. Houston St.
Sun-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight.
A little bit of Oaxaca comes to the Lower East Side. The three-story restaurant, bar and cultural center features, as you probably guessed, delicious tequila drinks, a tapas menu and a recently introduced full dinner menu. Are you man/woman enough to try the fried grasshoppers with cheese?
86 Orchard Street, at Broome
Hours Tues- Thur 12-2am Fri-Sat 12–4am Sunday 12-1am
Address: 120 Essex St., Essex Street Market/map
Photo by Cynthia Lamb.
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Jesse Kramer, a French Culinary School grad, and Erica Molina first impressed taco aficionados on the Lower East Side at the Hester Street Fair. Their creations, featuring super-fresh ingredients, are now offered up from a stall at the back of the Essex Street Market. The guaco taco, with avocado, sweet corn and crema, is a crowd pleaser. The cola braised pork is a winner, too. There are only three stools, so lunchtime at Brooklyn Taco is a tight squeeze. But Jesse is a great guy who aims to please and who keeps the line moving. Extra bonus: the place serves Blue Bottle coffee.
Mentions on The Lo-Down
JP’s Food Adventures: Heritage Meats, Brooklyn Taco Come to Essex Street Market
A gussied up taqueria and tequila bar (150 varieties) from the Spitzer’s Corner team. The exapnsive lower level has a clubby feel. Private rooms are available.
109 Ludlow, near Delancey
Address: 108 Stanton St. (Ludlow)/map
Hours: Sun-Thu, 10am-2am; Fri-Sat, 10am-4am
El Sombrero, referred to a lot of locals as “The Hat,” is one of he last “old school” spots within the Lower East Side’s gentrified nightlife district. Opened by Jose Suriel, a Dominican, in 1984, the Mexican restaurant is now operated by Palmerio Fabian and Josephina Diaz, Suriel’s niece and nephew. El Sombrero is beloved by LES residents, as well as young revelers, for its cheap frozen margaritas and extremely hot salsa. You’ll find all the basics here: burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, chimichangas. Nothing fancy, but after all these years the Hat is an endangered species, and you should visit this LES institution while you still can.
A friendly family-owned restaurant serving specialties from Puebla, Mexico.
321 Houston, near Attorney
Open Tue-Sun, 11am-midnight; Mon, closed
Address: 253 Broome St. (near Orchard)/map
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; weekends 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
More than a decade after arriving on the “below Delancey” restaurant scene, Barrio Chino is still one of the most popular spots for good, inexpensive food and interesting drinks. Taking its cues from the neighborhood’s Latino and Chinese cultures, the decor is eclectic. Most everything on the menu is good; we especially like the tortilla soup, soft tacos and enchiladas verdes. The margaritas, made with Barrio Chino’s signature infused tequilas, are top notch and never too sweet. The staff is friendly and laid back, but the place is tiny, so if you’re not prepared for a wait, weekday lunch might be your best option.
A New Mexican spot on a restaurant-poor stretch of Grand Street — with a full bar, happy hour specials and lunch service.
384 Grand Street, at Suffolk
Hours: Daily: 12pm-4am (Kitchen closes at 11:30pm) Brunch Daily: 12pm-4pm