Saturday, May 30, 2009


Gourmet Mandu came back to NYC for a visit. Her visits are always welcomed and highly anticipated because we always go out to eat! It's our thing. And we love it so much. This time we went to Mercadito. It's a taqueria and cevicheria located in the East Village. The restaurant is small and the decor is "old looking". But it's purposely made to look that way. They use old wooden chairs and tables. It's almost like a worn down beach shack feel. But clean and welcoming. We arrived at 6:15pm on a Tuesday evening. It's not packed. But there are a couple of tables filled. I have to admit that I went with skepticism. Ever since I spent a summer in California, I've been spoiled with ridiculously good Mexican food. And it's true. NYC doesn't have anything nearly as good. The only place that has ever remotely reminded me of California-Mexican food is Florencia 13. But that still was a far cry of what I had experienced on the West Coast. Anyhow, we started with the Guacamole Tradicional ($13.5). They have several other more exotic types. But I wanted to get a good feel of what they can do with traditional foods. And it was delicious! The avocado was creamy and buttery. It was lightly accented with lime and cilantro. But avocado was the star. The fresh, crispy tortilla chips complemented it well. Next I ordered the Pescado Tacos ($14). They contained sauteed tilapia, tomatillo salsa, huitlacoche, and manchengo cheese. I got 4 tacos wrapped in a soft corn tortilla. The fish was prominent. The huitlacoche is "corn smut" but it tasted bean like. It was good. And they just sprinkled some cheese on top as a nice accent. But most of all, I'd like to rave about the corn tortilla itself. It was good. It tasted real. Gourmet Mandu ordered the Estilo Baja ($14). Four tacos with battered and fried mahi mahi with coleslaw and chipotle aioli. I liked this better than my own order. The flavors melded together better. The fish was crispy. The coleslaw gave it a nice crunchy texture. And the aioli brought everything together. Again, wrapped in that great corn tortilla. We also ordered a side of platanos ($5). Every time I go to a Mexican restaurant, I always order fried plantains. I love them and will always get them. I know that they're easy to find and probably make. But I don't care. I'll order it anyway! And these were typical fried plantains. Sweet and soft. Slightly fried/charred outside. We shared everything. We ordered more than we could finish. We left a little bit of the guacamole and a handful of the platanos. I hate to waste food but I couldn't stomach anymore. In all, the food was good. I would definitely come here again. Prices weren't bad at all. Although it reminded me more of the West Coast than Florencia 13, it still didn't live up to the Pacific. Ah, there's just something about the Mexican food there. It's just that good. But I'm just glad I'm finding better choices here.

Mercadito 179 Avenue B New York, NY 10009 (212) 529-6490

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