Nightlife requires night food, which means Essex Taqueria is in the right place at the right time. Its generously filled grilled-fish tacos hit the spot, says small h, a Chowhound who topped them with salsa, white cheese, and radish but also appreciates the wide selection of other add-ons: cilantro, jalapeño, guacamole, corn, and many more.
Essex Taqueria replaced a short-lived döner grill that you'd have expected to thrive in this liquor-soaked corner of the Lower East Side—nine square blocks, some 50 bars and counting—that some locals have rechristened Hell Square. Maybe tacos, which Essex serves till 4 a.m. nightly, will catch on better than Turkish meats.
Just a few blocks south, another taqueria is poised to get in on the action. Cochinita Dos, an outpost of a place in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, opened about a month ago. There's little word yet on the new place, but 'hounds go for the "affordable healthy Cal-Mex" at Cochinita's original Brooklyn shop.
Essex Taqueria [Lower East Side]
123 Essex Street (between Rivington and Delancey streets), Manhattan
Cochinita Dos [Lower East Side]
49 Canal Street (between Orchard and Ludlow streets), Manhattan
Photo of Essex Taqueria's fish tacos by Mark Hokoda