Sitting 2,000 miles from the border doesn’t keep New York City Mexican restaurants from bringing authentic flavors to local palates. This passion for authenticity, however, also doesn’t stifle the characteristic creative spirit that infuses all New York restaurants. At Empellon Cocina, the James Beard Award–nominated chef Alex Stupak adds pistachios to guacamole and fills tacos with braised pork tongue. Other restaurants skew more southern: Mole NYC specializes in oaxacan tamales and cochinita pibil, a traditional Yucatan dish of shredded pork roasted in banana leaves, while Fonda serves Yucatan-style jumbo shrimp over green rice and braised-chicken enchiladas drenched in oaxacan black mole.

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