Cinco De Mayo!
Let’s be clear: Cinco De Mayo is an important Mexican national holiday. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 (and not Mexican Independence Day which is actually September 16th).
However, it seems people are always looking for a good excuse to eat, drink and be merry and at FLY we want to make sure your eating, drinking and merriment is the best that the city has to offer.
To that end - below are some suggestions that should have you celebrating the Fifth in style!
Sure the masses are flocking down to the nearest El Torito for the tequila shot and margarita specials – but maybe you want to celebrate the holiday in a slightly more refined manner (and with a slightly higher grade of tequila).
Top of this list would be the 4 person, 18 course tasting menu at Alex Stupak’s Empellon Cocina. Although, considering that the meal is served only to one party, sitting at a table which is basically in the kitchen and usually only seats 4, you might want to consider making your reservation for next year.
However, even if you don’t manage to snag the privilege of being served by the chef himself the rest of the tables and the menu are totally worth exploring.
Likewise in the higher-end category is Comse.
Daniela Soto-Ines in the kitchen was just awarded the prestigious James Beard Award for Rising Chef. The dishes are Mexican inspired with a lot of New York flair. Ever wondered whether Uni would work well on top of a tostada? Wonder no longer (we tried it, its frigging delicious).
This and other innovative takes on Mexican cuisine, along with a fantastic wine and liquor selection will certainly give you a top notch Cinco De Mayo.
Fun and Adventurous
Although Danny Bowien is perhaps more well known for his outstanding Mission Chinese, don’t overlook his foray into all things Mexican at Mission Cantina.
The vibe, much like at the newly relocated Mission Chinese, is fun and boisterous. Eclectic decorations and loud music make it feel like a party. And the menu provides an equally eclectic take on Mexican street food. Although the Scallop and Beef Heart ceviche had some of our co-diners squirming – it was delicious. Also you get to boast that you ate raw beef heart – which should give you some special powers as you continue your Cinco de Mayo revelry late into the night.
On a similar and perhaps even more adventurous note, The Black Ant in the East Village will have you testing your pre-conceptions of what a grasshopper taco might taste like. But trust us, it tastes great. In fact everything coming out of the kitchen is amazing – and the cocktails, many made with mezcal will have you celebrating the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French like a true champion.
Straight Forward Delicious
If you’re looking for straight forward and classic Mexican deliciousness in a fun and understated setting then you’re going to want to check out Gran Electrica in Brooklyn.
Authenticity is the name of the game and whether you’re ordering up tacos, gorditas or the beyond amazing posole – close you’re eyes and you’ll think you’ve been transported to a Mexico City street market. Open your eyes and you’ll remember you're seated on the gorgeous and cozy patio in the middle of Brooklyn.
We have nothing against a rip roaring, back-to-college-days themed drink-a-thon. And if that’s your game one of our favorite spots for Margaritas, Chips, Salsa and Tequilla shots is Dos Caminos. With a couple of locations around the city this really is our favorite, standard, Americanized version of a Mexican restaurant.
Is the food being prepared by some famous former Top-Chef contestant who has the cilantro flown in daily from the north facing plains off the mountains of Machu-Pichu? No. But after your 6th margarita are you really going to be that concerned?
Enjoy the holiday in whatever way you see fit. If you drink, do so responsibly. If you eat do so deliciously. And if you take anything away from this post – please remember that Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day.