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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Latin/Mexican Soho Moderate Good


Mexican is a food you don’t just happen to have for dinner. It’s a food you seek out on purpose; it's inspired by a specific craving. You wake up, you’re going about your day, and sometime around 4 or 5 when you are thinking about what to do for dinner, you realize you want a margarita and you want some good Mexican. Maybe you crave fish from Vera Cruz and you plan on going to Pampano. You want a great chorizo and egg brunch, so you head over to La Palapa. You’re in the mood for some fresh and zippy guac and a guilty pleasure known as the frozen pomegranate margarita and you race over to the bar of Rosa Mexicano. There’s a smoky spicy margarita and a plate of melting Oaxacan braised goat on your mind and so you make a bee-line to Suenos. Well, allow me to fill you in on your next craving: braised duck enchiladas in almond mole ($18). You’ll find them at Papatzul, a terrific new family-owned Mexican spot on the corner of Grand and West Broadway.

In days gone by, Papatzul was the food that the Aztecs made for their Spanish conquerors. They thought the Spaniards were Gods, and they prepared dishes of pumpkin mole and called it Papatzul, or Food of the Lords. As it turned out, the Spaniards weren’t quite lords—but the food is still quite special, as it is here in Soho. Conceived by chef Thierry Amezcua, a native of Coyoacan, a small delegacion (borough) in Mexico City, the menu of classic Mexican fare is graciously gentle on the wallet and fits seamlessly with the convivial setting.

Up front you’ll find a lively bar backed by a wide brasserie-style mirror, with sunny walls painted the color of terra cotta and decorated with original Mexican masks. Walk past the partially open kitchen and you’ll find a spacious back dining room of exposed brick painted white, filled with hefty wooden tables tucked into banquettes and a rustic communal table down the center of the room.

When Steven, Debbie, Kiri and I had dinner there last week, we started out as they do in Mexico City with a Sangrita—a shot of tequila (El Tesoro for me), a shot of Sangrita (think Bloody Mary mix) served on a cute wooden tray with a hill of sea salt and a few wedges of lime. Our waitress explained the method of conquering the tray of booze: Take a sip of tequila, then a ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Soho :
+ Balthazar   + Savoy   + Blue Ribbon   + Lupa   + Public   + Kittichai   + Lure Fishbar   + Barmarche   + Porcupine-- CLOSED   + Ama   + La Esquina   + Jerry's- Closed Now   + The Tasting Room   + Papatzul   + Shorty's.32   + The Monday Room   + Ed's Lobster Bar   + Aurora   + Provence   + Tailor   + Hundred Acres   + Delicatessen, By Guest Reviewer Julie Besonen   + The Mott   + The Dutch   + Cherrywood, by Guest Reviewer Dara Pollak   

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