Tacombi at Fonda Nolita



267 Elizabeth Street bet. Houston & Prince Streets

Tacombi feels like a breezy, outdoor party in a Mexican beach town: twinkly lights, rinky-dink tables, and freshly made tacos served straight out of a parked Volkswagen minivan. There's a diverse variety of tacos to choose from: grilled chicken, crispy fish, shrimp, grilled pork, ground beef, and a few more interesting ones. The tacos are served on two corn tortillas--and there's usually enough of the filling to create a second taco. Also noteworthy is their chorizo breakfast taco, which features finely crumbled spicy Mexican chorizo that's been whisked into beaten eggs and served scramble on a warm flour tortilla with a slice of avocado. A selection of Mexican beers and traditional drinks like horchata (Mexican rice milk) round out the menu. Table service is now offered in the back.

Steamed Pork Buns & Malay Micheladas

643 Hudson Street bet. Horatio & Gansevoort Streets

Though steamed pork buns have officially gone mainstream since first appearing at Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004, Fatty Crab's version is distinctly...Fatty Crab. The Southeast Asian complexity here comes from the side salad of fresh cilantro leaves and thinly sliced red onion tossed in a sesame oil dressing, with a healthy shower of coarsely ground black peppercorns, and a wedge of warm boiled egg as a garnish. I just stuff everything inside of the fluffy white bun and dip the entire pocket into the hoisin-Sriracha sauce. Try these with their piquant Malay Michelada cocktail, cold beer with a spicy sangrita mixture that's poured into a chili-salt rimmed glass.

The Wren

44 Bowery Street bet. Great Jones and Bond Street

There's definitely a bar scene up front at The Wren, but, if you can snag a table in the back, it can be quite quaint and lovely. I love the modern-rustic decor here and they a British pub-inspired menu to match: cheese and charcuterie boards, fish and chips, and a whole array of spreads and goodies served in little jars. My favorites are the chicken liver mousse and the steak tartare, which come with warm toast points on the side. Add a glass of beer or wine to that and I'm happy.