This slim, urban beach shack shrouded in bamboo thatch serves some of the city’s most consistently satisfying Mexican food. Instead of finding happy-hour throngs checking beepers for tables, you’ll see a chef-owner inside the open kitchen. At Mercadito, whose name means “little market,” the portions are designed to be small: Instead of huge platters filled out with rice and beans, you’ll find miniature tacos and tostados bursting with original flavors. Start with guacamole enlivened by mango or orange, or gooey queso fundido, a cheese fondue made of smoked Gouda, Chihuahua and Manchego cheeses. The tacos, served in foursomes, are consistently excellent; the skirt steak’s a standout. For dessert, order the warm plantains Foster with a cold mound of vanilla ice cream.
179 Ave B
|Cross street:||between 11th and 12th Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon, Tue 5–11pm; Wed, Thu 5pm–midnight; Fri 5pm–1am; Sat noon–4pm, 5pm–1am; Sun noon–4pm, 5–11pm|
|Transport:||Subway: L to First Ave|
|Price:||Average main course: $18. AmEx, MC, V|