Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hecho En Dumbo: The Bowery's Best Mexican?

By: Anne M. Raso

I fell instantly in love with the understated Hecho En Dumbo in the East Village. It is just one long room with exposed brick walls and pipes and pretty much no art on the walls--you would think it was a hipster hang if you just looked at the bar crowd but the dinner crowd is a true mix of folks from the uptown business crowd to local tattoo artists. The food is served in a straightforward manner, with farm to table ingredients, fast service and respectable size portions.

I tried a little of everything, although I was not adventurous enough to try the bone marrow tacos (Tacos de Tuetano, $14) or the roasted veal sweetbreads tostados (Tostados De Molleja, $13). Rest assured, if you love experimental tacos, tostadas and flautas, I strongly recommend this place. I started out with one of their spectacular drinks, the Esmeralda ($14), which is muddled organic cucumber and basil leaf with gin, vodka and lime juice. I love cucumber and basil together in both soft and hard drinks, and this cocktail blue me away. Each sip ended with a big kick! The cocktails are served in old-school margarita glasses, so they are about six to seven ounces each. I started with the Ensalada De Esparago ($9), which was a cup of tender grilled asparagus with delightful pea tendrils and pistachios. The lemon and vinaigrette dressing was light and divine, and the shaved aged Manchego cheese on top made the salad just "sing" as they say. I next wanted to bathe in glorious Mexican cheesy goodness, so I ordered the Queso Fundido de Huitlacoche ($16), which was gorgeous melted Chihuahuan and Asadero cheeses with sautéed huitlachoche mushrooms melted over warm flour tortillas. It was indeed stringy cheese heaven!

The Tacos De Costilla ($16) consisted of lightly salted grilled steak short ribs served with chopped cilantro and onion; soft tacos and the bone were placed on the side. The meat was sustainably raised and highly marbleized, much to my delight. Cooked perfectly medium rare, this was a delight. I was thrilled that I got to pick up the bone and get to the tenderness of the meat. So rarely do restaurants serve bones and I always have felt that the best meat is closest to the bone (just a personal preference)!
Burritas De Res
I had the urge to check out Hecho's burritos so my dining partner Gail and I ordered the Burritas De Res ($18) a trio of small flour burritos with sirloin steak that had been stewed in an assortment of Mexican spices and fresh lime juice. Each burrito had a smear of black bean puree and a large lump of homemade guac was also placed in the center of the dish. The meat was super tender and flavorful--this is another dish I highly recommend.
Carnitas Campechanas
There are several specials of the house (Especiales De La Casa) at Hecho En Dumbo and I had to have the Carnitas Campechanas ($30), which features tender chopped Berkshire pork cheek, rib, shoulder bell and chicharrons served with homemade tortillas and tomatillo avocado sauce. It reminded me of eating assorted odds and ends at a traditional Cuban pig roast, and each cut was delicious, juicy and tender. This dish is a very large portion and I highly recommend it for pig lovers who want to venture out of the usual pork cuts served at Modern American and Mexican eateries.

My dessert choice was the Pastel Impossible ($10), which--if you'll pardon the pun, was impossibly delicious and cream. It's lime and ricotta on an almond-based angel food cake and served with homemade black current ice cream. If that was not enough, it came with a delightful blueberry lemon sauce. This is a small portion--about 1/2 cup--but the other food is so filling here that this is the perfect portion for two people to share to have their wonderful Mexican meal ending on a fruity note.

I plan to go back to Hecho En Dumbo--which, in case you are curious, did start out in DUMBO and wound up in the East Village (usually restaurants move in the opposite direction). I loved the cordial service here and that the wait staff could explain each dish in detail. No doubt about it--it's a smart move to head to "Dumbo" when you want top-notch fare from South Of The Border.

Hecho En Dumbo
324 Bowery
New York, NY 10012
Cuisine: Mexican

Hecho En Dumbo on Urbanspoon

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