While there are some truly great restaurants around Union Square, the area is considerably more concentrated with $20 desk-lunch salad spots. Two blocks and two avenues from the park’s northwest corner, the promising new Tacos Güey is close enough for us to add it to our U-Sq recommendations.
Chef Henry Zamora’s resume includes roles at Legacy Records and private restaurant 423 Park Avenue in NYC, and Quince and The French Laundry in California; all pretty fancy places. His new venture on West 19th Street is in the former Flatiron Lounge location. Its present iteration is anchored by a backlit bar illuminating bottles of booze that shine like jewels across from a long banquette. Exposed brick lines the space.
Zamora’s excellent opening menu includes six types of tacos with house-made tortillas. Orders arrive two to a plate with radish and lime. All the hits are here, including carnitas, carne asada, pollo asado, pescado frito, hongo asado and lamb birria. For starters, the guacamole is lime salted and smashed to textured perfection, sea bass ceviche is bright with chili oil and gooseberries and the potato and queso flautas have a nice crisp bite and a trio of colorful condiments. Though it’s hard to resist rounds and rounds of tacos, larger plates include an exciting chef’s selection of meats, pork ribs and a grilled whole fish of the day.
The cocktails are “just drinks” worthy, too, making this a welcome spot aside from dinner plans. Güey even has two new additions to NYC’s frozen cocktail scene: The This Güey, made with mezcal, Oaxacan rum, pineapple, honey and mint, and the That Güey, with tequila, curaçao, limón and tajín. Other novel and classic cocktails are also available alongside beer and wine.
Tacos Güey is located at 37 West 19th Street and is open on Sunday from 3pm to 10pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30am to 10pm, Thursday and Friday from 11:30pm to 11pm and Saturday from 3pm to 11pm.