Reconnecting with Mexican food in NYC, Part 2: Hecho en Dumbo

Continuing from Reconnecting with Mexican food in NYC, Part 1

Hecho en Dumbo's open kitchen at the back, and seating space up front

Hecho en Dumbo showcases an array of small plates called antojitos, or ‘little cravings,’ for those indecisive moments in a foodie’s life. This is the kind of place I’d love to come to with a huge party of people, so that I could try one of everything, starting with their basic guac and chips and building up to more complex dishes like their Picaditas de Jaiba (a duo of stone ground Yellow Corn Masa medallions topped with shredded Dungeness Crabmeat, ripe Avocado, and a drizzle of Jalapeno oil) or their Cangrejo Xel-Ha (fried Chesapeake soft shell crab nestled upon a cool saffron-yoghurt slaw with pickled ramp, radish, cucumber, avocado and chile habanero), or their many burritos and tacos and sopes (stone ground corn masa medallions with black bean puree, house made crema fresco, crispy romaine lettuce, and powdery Cojita cheese).

For now, my omnivorous friend and I skimmed off some of the tastiest veggie-friendly plates on the menu, with their…

Creamy heap of fresh guacamole, with tortilla chips that were thick, substantial, perfectly fried pockets of supreme crunchiness

Crema de Palmitos, a cool summery soup made out of hearts of palm, and garnished with chayote squash  

Ensalada Tricolor, with three piles of crunchy marinated veggies – radish and jicama, carrot and parsley (my favourite of the three), and cucumber with mint – sprawled out on sweet slices of ripe mango

..and lastly, the Tacos de Rajas con Queso, that arrived as soft, warm mini tortillas served alongside a flavourful mush of chile poblano pepper and sautéed onions, melded together with gooey queso chihuahua . A  joyously cheesy ode to vegetarianism.

It’s worth mentioning that the service here was super friendly, with the server giving us great recommendations, and enthusiastically replenishing our pile of chips as well as the stack of warm tortillas for our chile poblano taco plate on request. No snooty server grimace or ‘‘that’ll be a dollar extra’’ that could sometimes be dished out to you on busy nights at popular joints in NYC.

My only regret was that I didn’t have a chance to experiment with some of the carnivore-friendly plates that night – though to be honest, the veggie plates were so yummy that I didn’t really miss the meat. But next time I’m in NYC, I’m going to have to make a return trip with an army of fellow gluttons to conquer the rest of my unfulfilled little cravings on the Hecho en Dumbo menu.

Hecho en Dumbo
Phone: +1 (212) 937-4245
354 Bowery, New York, NY, USA

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

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