Tacos ($4 to $5 each)
Other than big tickets like that chicken, the mains proper are mostly tacos. Fillings like tongue, carnitas, and alambres, a jumble of cubed brisket and bacon, are beautifully tender but lack seasoning and the deep, incorruptible flavor of well-braised or grilled meat.
Al pastor doesn't register much in the way of spice; braised lamb belly, though impressively gamey, doesn't have much else to offer. As for those housemade tortillas, they leave the griddle before they could delicately char into greatness, and they're lacking in sweet, toasted corn flavor—though in fairness you could the same of virtually every tortilla made or served in New York.
My favorite tacos had no salsa at all: get the Hongos, intensely browned mushrooms with only a smear of broiled Oaxacan cheese for company. It's aggressively simple, self-contained, and more than satisfying.
The rest of the taco selection, including a comically stacked fried fish number that rises three inches off the plate, would do well to learn similar restraint.
Rotisserie Chicken ($35)
It's schmaltzy and moist, served over a heap of rice with pecans and nubs of chorizo.
Rotisserie Chicken ($35)
It serves three at least, and if you order it, dig down for extras of rice while your friends fight over the bird. That rice tastes more like chicken than most chickens.
Every meal starts with a small fish of roasted chickpeas with hot sauce. The hot sauce is great, and it'd be nice to see it incorporated into more of the dishes that need a dose of heat and acidity.
Chicken Wings $11
The wings deserve plenty of love: crisp, plump, and juicy, hit with moody spices, tangy crema, cotija cheese, and sesame seeds. Expect them to join the Great New York Wings pantheon once reviews start coming in.
Oaxacan Cheese ($8.50)
The cheese, made at the restaurant, has all the flavor of grocery store mozzarella. It sits doe-eyed on the plate, waiting for something to happen to it.
Undercharred strips of poblano chili are served with one-dimensional pickled beets and floppy greens.
Salmon and Mussel Ceviche ($13)
It has murmurs lime and chili, but it's soaked with enough coconut milk to put you to sleep.
A few ounces of bland avocado mash fails the cloudlike crisps of fried pork skin that accompany it.
Dirty Horchata ($10)
Spiked with coffee and soju, it tastes like a sorority's taco night gone wrong.
This beer cocktail, spiked with plenty of hot sauce, fares better.
The dining room is roomier than at Mission Chinese—you can get up without bumping into other tables and you don't have to duck out of the way of a hanging dragon.