Cititour: The New York Guide to Events, Restaurants, Music, and Nightlife

Besito Restaurant and Café

Besito Restaurant and Café

Cuisine: Mexican

Cititour Review: Having never been to Mexico, I can't completely vouch for the authenticity of Besito. But I suspect that this two-month-old SoHo eatery is very similar to the real thing, from its cantina-like décor -- complete with blanket-upholstered banquettes and tiled bathroom -- to its well put-together menu, complete with a glossary of chiles and peppers on the bottom for us uneducated gringos. As of this writing, the restaurant is still waiting for its liquor license, but you will be more than pleased with its selections of beers, sangria (both red and white) and wines, including some unusual and delicious south-of-the-border vintages. The complimentary chips and black bean dip make a nice nibble, but you'll probably want to sample the guacamole, which arrives freshly made in a traditional molcajete. It could be spiced up a bit, but it's nonetheless quite tasty, and the portion (priced at a hefty $12) easily serves two or three diners. Appetizers -- or "botanas" as they're accurately labeled here -- are so generously portioned you can easily make them your meal. The Acapulco tacos, filled with either shrimp or fish, are exemplary, and the wonderful homemade chipolte mayonnaise enhances them even further. A salad of nicely grilled shrimp, fresh corn salsa and mixed greens is satisfying, although I wish the vinaigrette was a little less acerbic. Shrimp lovers have a couple of other starter options, including a seafood cocktail and a dish of sautéed shrimp with tostones (twice-fried green plantains). Enchiladas have often struck me as an overrated pleasure, but I was particularly pleased with Besito's "Pancho Villa" version; they arrive under just a small coating of cheese and green tomatillo sauce, and the chicken filling was especially moist. (Beef and cheese are also available). Being a musical theater lover, I couldn't help ordering Bifstek Evita, which turned out to be a very tasty ribeye steak topped with an Argentinian-style chimichurri. Desserts, so often an afterthought in Mexican restaurants, are actually worth ordering here, especially a superb Mexican flan made extra-delicious by a topping of toasted coconut. It's so good you will want to go into the kitchen and give the chef a besito (little kiss) just for creating it.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: SoHo

Besito Restaurant and Café
357 W. Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 966-2030