Magazine article The New Yorker

Mercadito; Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

Mercadito; Tables for Two

Article excerpt

179 Avenue B, between 11th and 12th Sts. (212-529-6490)--"Three's the perfect number," a waitress at this East Village spot told a trio of diners recently. "That way you each get a taste." She meant the diners, but she also meant the tacos, which come in daintily sized flights of three and are the prime attraction of the nearly year-old restaurant. The shareable portions and the long list of margaritas are also conducive to larger festive gatherings, a point seemingly not lost on organizers of bachelorette parties. One sweaty summer evening, the front room was packed with women in tank tops and men with shirtsleeves rolled up and shot glasses of tequila at hand. If you can make it through the crowd and negotiate the narrow hallway by the kitchen, the back dining area provides a cooler, slightly less raucous refuge. There are adobe walls, a thatched roof, and windows that look out onto a lushly overgrown backyard.

Ordering is preceded by a lengthy disquisition from the waiter or waitress. It's delivered pleasantly, but given the ubiquity of tapas-style dining it seems unnecessary; the idea could be distilled into "Get a little of everything." The chef and co-owner, Patricio Sandoval, has set out to reproduce the flavors of a Mexican marketplace (the restaurant's name means "little market"). …

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