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  • Horchata, Greenwich Village, New York City
  • Screen-shot-2014-06-26-at-7.15.33-AM-crop
  • Screen-shot-2014-06-26-at-7.15.15-AM-crop

06/26/14 Horchata, New York City

As rare as they come in Greenwich Village, a new Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood had to arrive with an artful spin. Packing less kitsch and more contemporary cool than your average taqueria is Horchata, a Mexican joint the Village’s offbeat sophisticates can cozy up to.

“Our goal was to create an easy, comfortable place for people in the neighborhood,” says Samantha Wasser, who created a sexy urban enclave with a festive barrio spirit. Intimate booths are set up along a wall lined with warm brick and subway tile. Edison bulbs are strewn casually under distressed tin ceilings and over communal tables. As an equally vibrant complement to the cacti and curios that adorn the reclaimed wood bar, Haring-like hand-drawn murals by local artist RJ Raizke are featured on several walls. “We hand-selected every element of the restaurant’s design to establish a fun personality and atmosphere inspired by Mexico without being too clichéd or overwhelming,” explains Wasser. “We wanted to craft a Mexican restaurant that hadn’t been seen before.”

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With the first art installation built around a restaurant’s entryway, Wasser has certainly accomplished her goal. Created by CONFETTISYSTEM, an artist-design firm that’s worked with the likes of Beyoncé and Opening Ceremony, the installation makes for an enthralling welcome. At least it stimulates the senses for a crafty menu that pays tribute to regional and Tex-Mex fare with a nod to modern American cuisine.

Expect a standout guacamole with chorizo and chipotle cheese, braised pork belly with pineapple and sriracha aioli, and of course, the restaurant’s namesake made deliciously versatile through a horchata flan and signature horchata cocktail that mixes rum and Stoli vanilla. This should bump the beverage up from quirky reference in a Vampire Weekend song to dining and drinking staple.

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