Looking for an unmarked subterranean Mexican restaurant in the middle of Chinatown? Probably not, but now that you know it exists, you want to see it for yourself, don’t you? Your first challenge is finding Doyers Street—the narrow curving lane off the Bowery where the original Gangs of New York held court. Down here, most restaurant signs are a mix of Chinese and English. But you’re not looking for a sign, because Pulqueria doesn’t have one. Instead, look for the doorway with the white and cerulean zig zag pattern.
The restaurant takes its name from pulque, a spirit made from fermented agave nectar. The Aztecs drank pulque, and today pulquerias all over Mexico serve it, but it’s extremely rare in New York City. Taken straight up, it tastes a bit sour. For something a bit more palatable, try the curados—pulque mixed with tequila or mezcal and fresh fruit like mango, tamarind or coconut. They pair well with the tapas-style menu of light bites, like the ceviches and tuna tostada, served with avocado, chipotle mayo and crispy onion.
Located at 11 Doyers Street, Manhattan.
While on Doyers Street, don’t miss the tunnel that enabled many a gang escape and can still be visited today. Discover 90 of NYC’s hidden bars and restaurants in the new book New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants.