Travel

Hell’s Kitchen

Establishment neighborhood
Tacuba
802 Ninth Ave., Hell's Kitchen
After chef Julian Medina scored a hit in Astoria, Queens, with his Mexican cantina Tacuba four years ago, he opened this outpost in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, with a bigger menu and more seating, two years later. The concept is classic Mexican with a few creative twists thrown in: chili rellenos filled with quinoa, mushrooms, and kale, chili-dusted fluke tacos with a kohlrabi-habanero slaw, and carne asada with a side of bone marrow fried rice. The atmosphere is generally boisterous, thanks in part to a big cocktail menu (we’re partial to the frozen tamarind margaritas), as well as the mezcal and tequila selection (there are hundreds—really, hundreds—of bottles on offer).
El Centro
824 9th Ave., Hell's Kitchen
Between bright, floral laminate booths, a wall full of shiny Mexican milagros, and a permanent crowd, the interior of El Centro is dizzying in the best possible way. There are frozen and fruit margaritas (although you'd do well to stick with the house version which is somehow only $8), overflowing bowls of guacamole, and a menu full of traditional Mexican dishes like enchiladas and fajitas. It's perfect for a quick, casual night out with friends.
Añejo
668 10th Ave., Hell's Kitchen
Exposed wooden beams on the ceilings and plentiful bar-height tables and chairs make this a cozy, yet lively hideout on frigid nights (both the Tribeca and Midtown locations are decorated in the same warm, rustic style). With plenty of small plates like guacamole, ceviche, and tacos, the menu is all about traditional Mexican cuisine. In keeping with the theme, the beverage program offers a long list of tequilas, which can always be ordered straight.
Ippudo
321 W. 51st St., Hell's Kitchen
The NYC Ippudo locations are the only branches in the United States. The noodles are hand-pulled on-site and cooked perfectly al dente. They're known for the super-flavorful tomkotso version, but we love the Miso Ramen and pork-free Wasabi Shoyu. They have some more contemporary restaurant-style dishes here, but the traditional ramen bowls are really where it's at. Prices are low, and it's first come, first sit, so be prepared to wait. The other location is in the East Village.
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