Published on April 1st, 2013 | by Greg0
Casa Mezcal: Food, Drink, And Arts!
New York has plenty of interesting culinary experiences, and in a city with around 24.4 restaurants per capita, we certainly love our range of dining options. The writers here have tried to take advantage- searching out authentic Chinese and Indian in Queens, standing in line for some of the original New York pizza- and our editor was formerly one of the leading food writers in dining hotspot Beijing. We’ve sampled the best of New York at many tasting events, reviewed spirits aplenty, and even journeyed beyond a storefront to enjoy some of the best bone marrow at local favorite Beauty and Essex.
Today, we’ve got another item to add to your city agenda, whether you’re a local or a visitor. Casa Mezcal is a Lower East Side collaboration that offers not only a wide selection of it’s namesake spirit, but also a great selection of authentic food, and serves it all up in an environment that also features art from around the world. A fairly intimate space that combines lounge and bar, Casa Mezcal also has an event space called Obra Negra as well as a gallery space. Featuring entertainment that ranges from live jazz to cumbia every Wednesday, there’s even regular free burlesque performances (Chi-Chi Wow Wow). Also, coming up on April 9th at 7PM, we’re proud to announce the one-woman show, Zarela Act 7 featuring renowned Mexican chef, author and personality Zarela Martinez. Combining music, recipes, and stories of her life, it promises to be a unique cultural experience. Tickets are $50, and include not just tasting portions of the dishes she cooks up, but also two free drinks as well.
We visited recently just in time to catch the tail end of happy hour- theirs runs from 5-7PM and is definitely worth visiting after work some weekday. Their margarita selection is solid, and their spicy margarita is about as hot as they come, thanks to a peppery salt rim that adds a dose of heat that had us sweating a bit and was a bargain at $6.50. We suggest starting with their homemade guacamole and chips ($8)- or if you’re feeling very adventurous, opt for the Chapulqueso, grasshoppers with melted cheese! Enjoy the crowd- not just the usual young professionals, but a bit more professional with a mix of families as well, and a volume level that never got too loud.
If you have a bit more of an appetite, definitely stick around for entrees. Their menu includes black bean soups and jicama salads, but we had our eyes on the mole- always a test of a Mexican restaurant. Theirs is made from a secret family recipe, and though the chefs remained a bit mysterious on the exact number of ingredients, it was “over 30″. We tried the Mole de pollo Oaxaqueño, chicken in the delicious chocolatey sauce ($18) and also an example of their cazuelas (Mexican claypots, essentially stews). Some of these are only available for lunch, and are a great way to try a few interesting dishes, like Nopal con huevo (cactus with egg) and the chipotle chicken (and range around $3).
The only disappointment we had was the Taco Camaron- a platter of three shrimp tacos with guacamole and a chipotle mayo that, for $12.50, felt a little underwhelming and bland. Presentation overall was excellent, service stellar, and you shouldn’t stop by without trying the traditional mezcal- if you’ve tried tequila, it’s similar but distinct, also made from agave but a different variety. Two that we sampled were unaged, and intriguing- one called Mezcal Union that takes craft seriously, is fairly light and sweet. You can even take it the traditional way, with a side of worm salt. The other had bourbon notes, a bit more caramel and smoke. And be sure to finish with their flan- a great way to finish up your meal ($7).
Casa Mezcal is open seven days a week, from noon to 1AM, and a little later on the weekends (until 4AM). Whether you come for lunch, brunch, drinks, or dinner, we definitely suggest making your way over to experience Cine, Musica, Comida, Arte. Delivery available as well!