Slideshow: Cocina Economica Mexico: The Upper West Side Goes Beyond the Taco

Small Bites
Small Bites
Appetizers range from $2.50 for small masa snacks to $9 for salads and ceviche. The best among them: meatball and chorizo "fondue," ($8), a saucier, spicier take on queso fundido.
Avocado Corn Bread ($2.50)
Avocado Corn Bread ($2.50)
A cake of avocado-enriched cornbread wrapped in a corn husk. It's sweeter than the other small bites, though great with salsa.
Ceviche Mixto ($9)
Ceviche Mixto ($9)
Shrimp, octopus, and conch jumbled with jicama and fragrant papalo leaf. The seafood could be more tender, sure, but that oft-ignored papalo speaks loud enough to keep your attention.
Braised Prawns ($12/$15)
Braised Prawns ($12/$15)
Shrimp with tomato, chili, and fried plantains. The shrimp are dense and meaty, just kissed with some chili warmth. Accompanying plantains are sweet sauce-soppers in waiting.
Cemita ($8 to $9)
Cemita ($8 to $9)
At lunch, Cocina offers clean-tasting but very good cemitas and slightly less exciting tortas. The cemitas don't skimp on the cheese and papalo, good signs both.

[Photograph: Craig Cavallo]

Banana Empanada ($7)
Banana Empanada ($7)
Flaky pastry houses molten bananas cooked down to caramel; it's topped with a banana gelato that tastes best as it melts down into the filling.