RECOMMENDED: Food & Drink Awards 2013
The best sophomore efforts are ones that surpass the original in scope, artistry and nerve—just look at The Godfather Part II, Led Zeppelin II and even Pride and Prejudice. Add this noodle-slurping spot to the list of fruitful follow-ups: After the debut of their still-stellar Xi’an Famous Foods—the Bourdain-approved Chinese chainlet born from Flushing’s ramshackle Golden Mall—father-son team David Shi and Jason Wang dodged the dreaded second-year slump with Biang! Their downtown-meets-Chinatown den pleases both Instagram-happy young’uns and Mandarin-fluent grannies, with Billyburg-mined trappings (exposed brick, Edison bulbs) that freshen up Xi’an crowd-pleasers (ragged-edged biang biang noodles, tangled with spicy-sour pork belly or stewed oxtail) and befit menu newbies like quail eggs sitting pretty atop teensy mantou toast. One thing’s for sure—that exclamation point at the end of the name is no accident. The joint’s the most exciting thing to come out of Flushing since, well, Xi’an. Biang!, 41-10 Main St between 41st Ave and 41st Rd, Flushing, Queens (718-888-7713, biang-nyc.com)
The Taco Shop
At this West Village taqueria, the menu is split into two distinct parts: tacos and “not tacos.” Mix and match the nine varieties of tacos—baja fish, chicken tinga, cochinita pibil, spicy chorizo and more—for just $3.50 apiece. You can supplement your feast with ceviche ($5.50), pork tamales ($5), quesadillas ($3.50) and, of course, guacamole ($4.50 for a small, $9.50 for a large). Then there are sides, like sweet fried plantains, pickled carrots and jalapenos and grilled corn on the cob with cojita cheese ($3 each or three for $7.50). Wash down your taco-centric meal with a bottle of sweet, neon-hued Jarritos soda ($3) in lime, tamarind, pineapple or orange. The happy hour deal might tempt Mexican food lovers even more: for just $12, you’ll get three tacos and a beer or margarita.
Venue says: “Make sure to check out our Happy Hour, 3 Tacos and a Margarita or Beer for $12. Monday-Fridays 4-7pm”