Today on East 13th Street, Hecho en Dumbo’s Danny Mena will open what his GM, Oscar Bernal, describes as a “traditional taqueria and mezcaleria” — but it won’t be too traditional.
“We don’t operate from nostalgia, but rather from a living connection with contemporary culture in Mexico,” says Bernal. Sure, Sembrado en Nueva York’s taqueria might focus on simple meat tacos al carbón (over the grill) and al pastor (a Lebanese-influenced version with spit-roasted pork) rounded out with local produce. And sure, diners might select the two-biters by marking paper menus “like they do in Mexican taquerias.”
But the mezcaleria is cutting edge. It’ll stock two dozen mezcal varieties, served straight up and in sophisticated cocktails dreamed up by bar manager Cesar Chavez, previously of Aphotheke. The El Mi Rey, for instance, is a shaken dream of mezcal, tamarind, chamoy, and sour mix that’s served on the rocks and finished with a salt-tajín rim and a tajín-garnished cucumber — so, basically, salty-sour-sweet alcoholic candy.
“[Danny and I] are both from Mexico City and travel back and forth a lot, and so we’ve been able to see there is a sort of new-found pride with mezcal,” says Bernal, who also happens to be an anthropologist pursuing a PhD.
For dessert, Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina concocts traditional Mexican “ice and sweets.”
Check out the rustic dining room filled with simple wooden tables via our slideshow. Sembrado opens this afternoon. Tomorrow, regular operating hours begin. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. daily and closes at midnight Monday to Wednesday, at 1 a.m Thursday to Saturday, and at 11 p.m. Sunday. Menu below.
Sembrado en Nueva York, 432 E. 13th St., nr. Avenue A; (212) 729-4206