In New York, upscale Mexican fare tends to be either the domain of chain restaurants, like Rosa Mexicano or Dos Caminos, or super high-end chefs, like Enrique Olvera’s Cosme. But standing out from the pack is Angelo Sosa’s Anejo, which has locations in Midtown and Tribeca.
The Tribeca location, which I had the opportunity to visit recently at the invitation of the restaurant, is turning out authentic Mexican fare that’s decidedly delicious. Three varieties of guacamole and four types of salsa are available (don’t miss the verde guacamole, with tomatillo, pumpkin seed, pomegranate, and chipotle, or the punchy habanero salsa), and small plates are rounded out by tuna and hamachi ceviche. Tacos are a standout; a great taco is a fully composed dish in and of itself, and these are no exception. Pulled slow-cooked short rib is topped with onion, cilantro, lime, and chipotle mayo (below); cornmeal-battered hake partners with pickled jalapeño slaw, mustard seeds, and radish; and coriander- and chipotle-rubbed steak is simply complemented with sweet onions and cilantro. All tortillas are made in-house, which also makes a world of difference. Other small plates include addictive empanadas filled with pork adobo, rich corn dumplings, and queso fundido that’s made with cotija instead of the usual stringy cheese and rounded out with chorizo and a fried egg. It would make for a stellar brunch dish on its own.
There are only a few large plates, but they’re all well thought out: Tender octopus is plated with kabocha squash confit, chorizo cream, and cilantro; grilled hanger steak comes with turnips, leeks, and olive poblano tapenade; and the enchiladas, which are filled with braised pork shoulder kicked up with sour orange, are topped with a rich and satisfying Oaxacan red mole that I could eat with a spoon.
As expected, all of these dishes pair very nicely with tequila, and the cocktails, which run from $10 to $16, certainly take advantage of that. Margaritas, made with anejo or blanco tequila, Combier, lime, and agave, are bright and tangy; the Pimm’s Copita, a play on the Pimm’s Cup, is made with the unique new Pierde Almas mezcal gin, Pimm’s, lime, ginger, and Jarritos tamarindo; and the El Padrino is made with a combination of El Jimador Anejo, Woodford Reserve, orange, house-made grenadine, and lemon. If you’d like to sample mezcals or tequilas on their own, they’d be more than happy to accommodate, and the downstairs tequila bar — the newly opened Abajo — is a snug and romantic refuge from reality.
Part cantina, part upscale Mexican spot, Anejo plays both roles very well. It has a fun and relaxed atmosphere, food and drinks are well-made and reasonably priced, service is friendly, and in short, it comes across as a really, really fun place to spend an evening out.