Fiesta Poblana knows how to charm the senses. The colorful dining room is often filled with the sounds of live mariachi music and sizzling fajita platters. If the smell of grilled peppers isn't enough, diners can breathe in the savory aromas of the chorizo, el pastor, and carnitas that fill the restaurant's tacos and tortas. Or perhaps they'll opt for specialty entrees such as the spicy camarones a la diabla, succulent jumbo shrimp spiced with chipotle sauce; and the cecina plate, which pairs salted steak with grilled cactus. To counteract the heat, diners can reach for Mexican sodas, sangria, and micheladas, beer cocktails blended with lime juice, spices, and more beer.
Illuminated by glowing blues and reds, indiglo Restaurant & Lounge presents visitors with a chic, upscale atmosphere in which to kick back for meals, drinks, and live performances. Inside, two levels thump with tunes from the venue's advanced sound system as bartenders whip up cocktails and specialty martinis. Visitors may start their nights off with dinner, such as char-grilled 12-ounce rib eyes and penne shrimp pasta, or with happy hour, which occurs Mondays–Thursdays.
Though you can watch the chefs at What A Taco put together custom dishes in front of you, the bulk of the work takes place earlier in the day. That's when the chefs start from scratch to make their range of Mexican staples. They bake their own gluten-free corn tortillas, blend together spicy ingredients to create the house's authentic sauces, and season meats to create savory fillings, such as barbacoa beef, al pastor pork, and spiced shrimp. Only when all of these ingredients are prepped and talked out of their shyness do the chefs bring them up front to be made into fast-casual food such as tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. The Mexican joint also offers breakfast, serving up items such as huevos rancheros and breakfast nachos with eggs, chorizo, spiced queso, and jalape?os.
Rawia Bishara didn't learn her way around the kitchen at culinary school. Instead, she helped her mother cook old world Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, hosted a plethora of dinner parties, and spent the past fourteen years running her own restaurant, Tanoreen. There, she and her staff fuse her mother’s traditional recipes with her own modern touches, creating a medley of past and present more satisfying than a founding-fathers rap battle. The resulting spreads range from classics, such as hummus and falafel, to more unusual flavors such as okra stewed with tomato and lamb, fried striped bass with tahini dipping sauce, and the many creative lamb dishes that prompted New York Magazine to proclaim, "Visiting Tanoreen without ordering lamb in some form seems as perverse as skipping the porterhouse at Peter Luger." As diners savor their meals, they can sip Arabic coffee with tequila and hazelnut, pistachio martinis, and other concoctions from the full bar.
Miguel Garcia, head chef at Casa Pepe, hails from Puebla, Mexico, but that didn’t stop him from reaching across the ocean and importing Spanish specialties onto his menu. Spanish staples such as paella valenciana sit comfortably beside traditional Mexican tacos, fajitas, and chimichangas. And neither cuisine suffers from the inclusion of the other; New York magazine said that Casa Pepe “confidently zigzags between Spain and Mexico.” Tapas plates kick things off with a bang, with options that include baked Long Island littleneck clams and grilled chorizo. Entrees toe the line between Spain and Mexico; or, in the case of the striped bass à la Veracruzana, connect the line. New York magazine said the dish “reveals a graceful pas de deux between the two cuisines.”
Casa Pepe’s main dining room is a cozy and rustic space with artifacts strewn upon its whitewashed walls. The patios and garden rooms evoke their own distinct atmosphere, quaint and quiet with climbing foliage and stone statues. Regardless of where they choose to dine, guests feel transported, and pitchers of sangria and margaritas only heighten the feeling of being on vacation or sabbatical.