Review - Mercadito (179 Ave B, 212 529 6490)
On a whim, we decided to nip down to the Lower East Side / East Village last night for some Mexican. We'd heard good things about Mercadito so we walked in around 8:30 pm without reservations but were seated quickly. The place filled up by 9pm so I think we got a little lucky.
The decor is charming - it's nicely rustic Mexican rather than the over the top style of Rosa Mexicano Lincoln Center. The service was attentive and quick (without being rushed) and the waiters had excellent command of English.
We started with a couple of drinks -- red sangria ($10) and a pepino cucumber margarita ($10) -- which were both good. The cucumber margarita in particular was quite good, despite sounding odd. They are quite refreshing.
Then we had the guacamole sampler ($13) which had 3 types - regular, pineapple, and mango. They were pretty good, and the mango one was a little spicy. It is not prepared tableside a la Rosa Mexicano, but one doesn't need the entertainment value of that to appreciate good guac. The chips with it are crisp and fresh, albeit a little oily.
Next up was our cevice sampler ($24) which had octopus, tuna, and scallops in 3 separate bowls. These mixings for this are very exactingly prepared with tiny diced vegetables and intense flavors. You can choose from other seafood too. It's a bit much for two people but is a good table app.
Then we had the fish tacos ($13) which were four mini batter fried fish in white corn tortillas. This was awesome. Apparently they have an incongruously named AYCE taco night on mondays for $20 (which is limited to ten tacos, go figure!) .... these would be a great choice for gobbling!
We had a great time and were lucky to find parking right in front of the restaurant. Dinner for two was $90 all in, which is somewhat high for Mexican, but for the quality level and service it's worth it. We'll be back as its really a nice little destination place.