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Looking at the modern glass-and-steel building that houses Mesa Coyoacan, chef Ivan Garcia’s culinary paean to Mexico City, you’d never guess that a warm and intimate restaurant resides within. Filament bulbs, vintage wallpaper, traditional ornaments and a staircase lined with votive candles give the space a homey Southwestern feel. It’s the perfect atmosphere in which to enjoy Garcia’s excellent and affordable multiregional fare, a worthy addition to the neighborhood and New York’s Mexican dining scene in general. An addictive appetizer of esquites melded the earthy-sweet flavor of corn kernels with a creamy, chili-spiked mayonnaise and salty bits of crumbled cotija cheese. Tangy, tomato-based seafood stew, meanwhile, provided a warming base for tender head-on shrimp, mussels and other toothsome fish. Building on the experience he gained cooking at Mercadito, Garcia also serves superb tacos: The carnitas came stuffed with juicy braised Berkshire pork, and the calamari tacos’ abundant white rings, while a touch overcooked, were perked up with a lively avocado sauce and blast of lime. One of the meal’s surprise highlights was the chiles en nogada entre, a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with pork, pears, apples and peaches and smothered in walnut sauce that seamlessly blended vegetal, meaty, fruity and nutty flavors. Don’t skip drinks or dessert: The selection of inventive margaritas (we loved the pineapple version with chili-infused tequila) and crisp churros with chocolate and salted-caramel dipping sauces are alone worth a visit. Clearly, appearances can be deceiving.
372 Graham Ave
|Cross street:||between Conselyea St and Skillman Ave|
|Transport:||Subway: L to Graham Ave|
|Price:||Average main course: $13. AmEx, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed 5pm–midnight; Thu, Fri 5pm–1am; Sat noon–1am; Sun noon–midnight|
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