Chowhounds from parts west and south often complain that Mexican food in New York City doesn’t measure up to the stuff of their salsa-steeped memories. But for some, five-month-old Móle comes close. “[I]f you like Mexican—you must eat at Mole!” insists erstwhile Texan oliver_selwyn. It is the “best Mexican in the city!”

Much of the regular menu is unsurprising: tacos, tortas, burritos, enchiladas, and the like. Instead, check out the daily-changing “Lupe’s specials.” Lupe—that would be Lupe Elizalde, chef and co-owner—is from Mexico City, but her dishes range from all over the country. One recent winner was Yucatán-style cochinita pibil: achiote-marinated pork, baked in banana leaves, shredded, and served in dark, rich, nutty/garlicky sauce. It was “decadent—definitely worth the $16 price tag,” says CalJack. Others to look for: octopus ceviche, guajillo-braised rabbit in parchment, and Veracruz-style battered fried fish, marinated in tomato-onion-lime salsa, and topped with jumbo shrimp.

From the regular menu (which is much like the one at the owners’ Upper East Side restaurant, Taco Taco), ex-Californian bweb recommends carnitas, burritos, and chicken enchiladas with mole poblano. “It is the closest thing to the Mexican restaurants I once knew,” bweb adds, “except for the premium prices.” About those prices: They’re higher than at bare-bones places but, says jhdan, lower than at the upscale Rosa Mexicano or Village favorite Mercadito. The room, while tiny, is comfortably done up, and the mood is casual and festive.

Some are unimpressed. Misfires have included a tired shrimp ceviche, pork tamales and chicken enchiladas that were light on meat, and duck enchiladas marred by dryish duck and a timid salsa verde.

Móle Mexican Bar & Grill [Lower East Side]
Formerly Win 49
205 Allen Street (between Houston and Stanton), Manhattan

Board Links: Móle review: best Mexican in the city!
Mole Restaurant on Lower East Side–Who has been?
tacos de cochinitas pibil—anywhere?

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