Mesa Coyoacan


372 Graham Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
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Cuisine: Mexican
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great
Cards: All major
Price: $9-$22
Hours: DINNER: Sunday-Wednesday, 5pm-12am, Thursday-Saturday, 5pm-1am; LUNCH: Wednesday-Friday, 12pm-5pm
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday, 11am-5pm
Booze: Full Bar
Subway: L to Graham Ave.
Menu: Click Here
Delivery: No
We say:

A traditional Mexican restaurant from chef Ivan Garcia, original menu designer for Barrio Chino and most recently chef de cuisine at Mercadito. There’s nothing avant-garde about the menu, most of which will seem familiar at first glance–his “grandma’s recipes,” as Garcia put it, down to house-made tortillas–albeit with modern touches such as Berkshire pork in the carnitas tacos and grass fed beef for the carne asada. Look for tacos (3 for $9), a sampling of ceviches, sopas, and tamales, as well as entrees, including enchiladas de mole, pork-and-fruit-stuffed poblanos topped with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds, and spiced lamb in chile ancho, chile guajillo, and avocado leaves steamed in a banana leaf, none over $15. Those price points and the warm interior (Chino-style wood tables for up to 14; salvaged 1940s wallpaper; and actual family photos hovering over the dining space like a glowering abuelita) you can expect Coyoacan to finally turn the former Pampa Grill space in Graham Ave’s “Fish Tank” building into the destination those architects clearly meant it to be.

Time Out says:

Looking at the modern glass-and-steel building that houses Mesa Coyoacan, chef Ivan Garcia’s culinary paean to Mexico City, you’d never guess that a warm and intimate restaurant resides within. Filament bulbs, vintage wallpaper, traditional ornaments and a staircase lined with votive candles give the space a homey Southwestern feel. It’s the perfect atmosphere in which to enjoy Garcia’s excellent and affordable multiregional fare, a worthy addition to the neighborhood and New York’s Mexican dining scene in general. An addictive appetizer of esquites melded the earthy-sweet flavor of corn kernels with a creamy, chili-spiked mayonnaise and salty bits of crumbled cotija cheese. Tangy, tomato-based seafood stew, meanwhile, provided a warming base for tender head-on shrimp, mussels and other toothsome fish. Building on the experience he gained cooking at Mercadito, Garcia also serves superb tacos: The carnitas came stuffed with juicy braised Berkshire pork, and the calamari tacos’ abundant white rings, while a touch overcooked, were perked up with a lively avocado sauce and blast of lime. One of the meal’s surprise highlights was the chiles en nogada entre, a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with pork, pears, apples and peaches and smothered in walnut sauce that seamlessly blended vegetal, meaty, fruity and nutty flavors. Don’t skip drinks or dessert: The selection of inventive margaritas (we loved the pineapple version with chili-infused tequila) and crisp churros with chocolate and salted-caramel dipping sauces are alone worth a visit. Clearly, appearances can be deceiving.

NY Mag says

Another day, another haute taqueria peddling authentic-style tiny tacos, and this one draws Manhattanites two stops out on the L. Chef Ivan Garcia grew up in a borough of Mexico City called Coyoacan; the name refers to the place where the coyotes roam. At his swank Graham Avenue spot, it’s best to poach the juicy street-food items from the range of options on the menu. (Cactus salad, for example, may be popular in Mexican markets as the menu suggests, but we doubt it comes on a bed of mesclun in the old neighborhood.) Garcia’s palm-size tortillas recall Mercadito, where he was executive chef before branching out on his own (he also had a stint at Barrio Chino), but his tacos bundle simple, quality proteins: Juicy nubs of carnitas are made from Berkshire pork; beef is grass-fed. An appetizer trio of tamales—a crave dish that never seems to live up to our dream of meat in a cornmeal pouch—arrives as the moistest set of banana-leaf packets in town. Again, diminutive size appears to matter: Each flavor—chicken and mole, tilapia with salsa, and pork suadero—combines a balanced tablespoon, or two, of filling and dough. For larger plates, moist spiced lamb steamed in a banana leaf includes a set of tortillas, and mole is properly complex. Taking more cues from his Manhattan Mexican experience, Garcia has embraced cramped seating and set up communal tables here, where two stools are stationed on an end that should accommodate one.