An Ace Pueblan Cook Shows Her Stuff in the Bronx

You can get a perfectly fine taco at Carnitas El Atoradero, the little Mexican restaurant spun off late last year by El Atoradero, the grocery-plus-kitchen next door. But you might want to think outside the tortilla instead. The best and most unusual dishes are not on the generic, snackish menu but rather among the chalkboard specials, NewYorkNewHaven reports on Chowhound (and on Serious Eats, where he got the scoop on this place). There are four or five daily, and they showcase sensational Pueblan home cooking: patitas (pig foot) cooked in vinegar, egg-stuffed albondigas (meatballs) in chipotle sauce, or whatever else is coming out of the kitchen.

Cook and owner Denisse Chavez is a warm and gracious host, generous with lagniappes that might include tart house-made tamarindo; a nibble of hearty tortitas made with ground garbanzos, chiles, and dried shrimp; or a spoonful of deeply complex mole poblano or the herbaceous salsa verde that comes with her costillas (pork ribs). Denisse's cooking first surfaced on Chowhound radar because of her stellar carnitas, once made only on weekends at the shop next door. They're still around, now available daily at her new place, which embodies "everything New Yorkers have been waiting for in a Mexican restaurant: a move beyond the stale taqueria format," NewYorkNewHaven says. "Get over here, ASAP."

Photo of Carnitas El Atoradero's patitas by Mark Hokoda