First Avenue near 13th Street has seen a lot of restaurant turnover recently. In addition to the just-unveiled Sao Mai and BaoBQ, there’s a new Mexican restaurant on the block called Tepito (228 First Avenue, 212-777-7980). As The East Village Local notes, the eatery was supposed to be called Agave Azul (and then Agave Azuré) until it was hit with a cease-and-desist order by Agave, a different Mexican restaurant in the West Village. But despite the naming controversy, Tepito puts out some good mod-Mex food at reasonable prices (two large tacos average $13, and come with rice and beans, while appetizers are around $9), and it offers a fine tequila list with more than 40 different bottles. We popped in for a visit and discovered a vegetarian delight (besides the $4.99 lunchtime margarita, that is): the three mushroom quesadillas with roasted corn.
Three corn tortillas — handmade on the premises, we were told — are chock-full of gooey Chihuahua cheese, nicely charred corn, and a smattering of mushrooms, all topped with Mexican crema and a salsa made from guajillo peppers. The result is a warming, gooey snack with just enough veggies to make you feel virtuous. OK, well, once you devour the complimentary fresh-out-of-the-fryer tortilla chips and salsa, maybe not so virtuous. But just down another margarita and forget about your post-holiday diet plans.