Mexico’s manifold cuisines are legendary… legendary, as in spoken of, but either wholly absent or inadequate at New York City’s Mexican haunts. Nick Cervera and Lupe Elizalde, the proprietors of Yorkville’s Taco Taco, want to change that. After their success in Yorkville serving burritos and margaritas to unadventurous young bankers, they’ve opened up shop on Allen at Houston, hoping to find a crowd willing to stretch its horizons.
One such dish that doesn’t fly uptown is the Crepas con Huitlacoche ($7), lovely homemade crepes paired with poblano crème sauce, filled with huitlacoche, aka the Mexican truffle: fungus-infected corn kernels, yellow-studded jet black, ranging in texture from chewy to exploding goo. Horrifying to look at; mild, smokey, and delightful to eat. Elote Asado ($4) is more accessible — roasted corn on the cob, slathered in sour cream and crumby cheese, seasoned with cayenne and lime. Corn on the cob, even dressed up, still relies on the freshness of the corn, and this was surprisingly sweet and moist for early spring. Shrimp Ceviche ($8) disappointed, tasting pre-cooked, suffering from discordant flavors.
Our mains showed the promise of the kitchen, if not perfect execution. Half Chicken Molé ($16), the restaurant’s namesake, was rich and complex, with just a tinge of chili and chocolate undertones, but was lacking in sides. The merely serviceable rice and beans did not do it justice, though the tortillas were handmade perfection. Three Spicy Lamb Tacos ($18) were on the dry side, but rough guacamole solved that, as did the genius lamb consommé that accompanied. This decadent homemade lamb stock, clarified, embellished with strips of chili peppers, was the star of the meal.
Stuffed though we were, I felt it was my duty to have dessert. I ordered arroz con leche, one of the finest rice puddings I have ever had; loose and creamy, dusted in cinnamon, garnished with fresh mint. A fitting end to a sumptuous Mexican meal.
Móle serves the best Mexican cuisine I’ve had in this city, though the competition is pretty weak. The small, elegant, yet ebulliently Mexican space, adorned in tile, bright colors and dark woods is small enough for the kitchen to handcraft most everything. And with the current BYOB policy, the meal ends up a deal. Sure, you can get hard American tacos or a chicken burrito, but why would you want to when there’s corn fungus to be had? Stretch those horizons — you won’t regret it.