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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
After a successful two year stint as chef de cuisine at Manhattan’s Mercadito Cantina, Ivan Garcia headed across the river to open up his first restaurant—Mesa Coyoacan in Williamsburg. Named for the area of Mexico City where he grew up, this authentic Mexican cocina honors the region’s culinary classics with time-honored recipes handed down by Garcia’s grandmother.
The restaurant’s industrial-looking Graham Avenue facade disguises a warm inviting interior that features dim filament light fixtures, a seating medley of cozy booths, high-tops and communal tables, and pop music bouncing off the walls. On the night of our visit, patrons packed into the bustling bar area to sip fresh fruit sangria and margaritas made with house-infused tequilas.
With a focus on organic ingredients and quality proteins, the menu offers excellent Mexican fare and street-food staples. There are plenty of healthier choices, including my ceviche of tender octopus, grilled corn, avocado, pico de gallo and orange slices in a spicy jalapeño citrus infusion, and tiny handmade tortillas (three tacos to an order) topped with spit-grilled chunks of marinated grass-fed beef, chopped onions and cilantro. The roasted organic chicken arrived smothered in a flavorful pipian (traditional Mexican verde sauce) of pumpkin seeds, tomatillo, chiles and zucchini. However, the chiles en nogada entrée—a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with shredded Berkshire pork, pears, apples, peaches and almonds, covered with luscious walnut sauce—was the dinner’s clear high point. The balance of sweet, savory, creamy and nutty was absolutely exquisite.
By delivering high-caliber ethnic eats in a swanky space, Mesa Coyoacan has quickly become a neighborhood hotspot. So grab a date or a group of friends and settle in for some delicious comida that does granny proud.