This rainbow-splashed lounge set inside the Pod 39 Hotel feels more like a happy-hour rec room than a tacqueria. The sprawling space is as colorful as a Mexican blanket, decked out in a spectrum of thrift-store junk, two long votive-lit bars, plush couches for lounging and Ping-Pong tables in glass-enclosed nooks. It is first and foremost a place to imbibe, its Mexicanish finger food mostly designed for easy consumption while clutching an icy cerveza.
In the kitchen, April Bloomfield (the Spotted Pig, the Breslin) and taco maestro Roberto Santibañez (Fonda) raise the bar on dirt-cheap Mexican snacks, turning out tiny tortillas—made fresh to order from Nixtamal masa—stuffed with primo ingredients from all over the place: tender skirt steak swaddled in a Texas-style smoky pecan-and-chipotle salsa, coconut-curry cauliflower crowned with fried mint, beer-battered fish padded with pickled red onion.
The restaurant is well worth wading through the clamorous front bar but beware: By the time your piping-hot churros arrive, the place may be mobbed with Murray Hill’s after-work revelers too soused to really care what they eat.