11 Doyers Street, NYC
Tucked away on Chinatown’s Doyer Street, a tiny unassuming street that makes me feel like I’m not in New York, or even the U.S. for that matter, are next door neighbors #9 & #11. The two establishments at these addresses share the same owners and a no-sign-outside-try-and-find-us speakeasy attitude.
Mexican restaurant Pulqueria is accessed by somehow locating a staircase from the street that leads down to the floor below and then picking from three random doors in a tiny vestibule. I don’t know what’s behind two of the doors because fortunately my friend and I picked the winner on the first try. Through the door and the heavy curtain just past it, we found ourselves in a surprisingly spacious restaurant with a large tiki-inspired bar room on one side and a dining room on the other.
The Negroni Mexicano starts out with a small amount of mezcal in a cocktail glass which is set on fire before getting combined with aperol, vermouth, and bitters. It’s intensely smoky and paired well with the spicy flavors of the dishes I sampled. Their guacamole was decent enough, with the avocado not fully pureed and prepared with minimum fuss.
The friendly bartender talked us in to trying the taco verduras, filled with grilled cactus among other ingredients. The flavors and seasonings were great but I would have liked more cactus. Definitely a good suggestion, though. The slow roasted pork in the cochinita pibil taco was juicy, and the addition of annato seed added a vibrant red color.
Next time I go I’ll make sure to try their pulque, a fermented agave beverage that is said to be created by lightning flashing in the fields.
Next week: cocktails at sister bar Apotheke