An Early Taste of Cochinita Dos Tacos, Now Open on Canal Street
The Lower East Side has amassed a collection of California Mexican restaurants: First came Angeleno bar Taqueria Lower East Side, then was Danny Bowien's Mission Cantina, which is at least influenced by the Golden State, even if it's also heavy on ingredients from many other places in the world. Now there's Cochinita Dos (49 Canal Street, 212-226-8226), a second outpost of the Clinton Hill taqueria Los Angeles expat Adam Frank opened in 2011.
Cochinita Dos replicates the color scheme of its older sibling, with its sky blue walls and a black bench beneath the window. Menus are written on butcher paper (and printed on laminated sheets, which contain more information); three communal tables, stocked with napkins, utensils, and Tapatio and Valentina hot sauces, comprise the seating. You'll order at the counter, and then you'll sit down and wait for the kitchen to bring you your food.
The main thrust of the menus at both outlets is identical (though prices differ slightly): Tacos, burritos, and platters are built on the same seven fillings, which include grilled pollock and slaw, chorizo and hot salsa, and, of course, cochinita, a slow-roasted pork dish native to the Yúcatan that involves marinating the pig in citrus. It makes the pork tangy and almost tropical, the dominant flavor in a burrito also stuffed with rice and beans, cheese, and onions. Guacamole and sour cream cost extra, by the way, and platters are sided with rice and beans, warm tortillas, and salad -- way more than you need, frankly, especially if you pop by for lunch.
Cochinita Dos just secured its liquor license, so you can pair your meal to a cold beer or margarita. We dipped into the hibiscus tea, one of five aguas frescas the taqueria is pouring. You might finish your meal with chocolate pudding or a little flan.
When we popped by, we noticed the restaurant does a brisk takeout business, and it's trumpeting its delivery as well. The only disadvantage to that is you can't line each bite of your burrito with the hot sauce on the table -- and these burritos are good vehicles for the Tapatio.
Cochinitas Dos is open for lunch and dinner daily.
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