Last week we ate at Macondo on the Lower East Side, the casual sister of Rayuela. Basically it's upscale Latin street food. We were starving when we got there, so we started out with shrimp guacamole which the waitress told us was the appetizer special that day. It was gone before she came back to take our order.
We tried a variety of small plates. We started with a carne empanada - really nice crisp corn wrapper and flavorful meat inside. We also got tacos con pernil (pork). These were good, but small for the price - 3 small tacos (on 4-inch diameter sope-sized tortillas) for $15!
I also really liked the flatbread we ordered. The bread itself was kinda like thin crust pizza, but we got ours topped with sweetbreads, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and goat cheese (oh yeah, and there was bacon too - more pork!)
My favorite dish was the funchi con chorizo (above) - polenta topped with a soft-cooked egg, chorizo of course, and cheese.
The only dish I was disappointed in was the mofongo con conchinillo -- plaintain balls with pork belly. To be fair, it was the last dish to show up, after we'd already gobbled up everything else voraciously. That, and it was not what I expected - I thought it would be fried, like a Latin version of yu tou jiao (the deep-fried mashed taro balls stuff with roast pork that you get at dim sum).
I was happy with the meal, though it was overpriced, but well that's what you get in trendy Manhattan neighborhoods (sigh, I miss when the LES was still divey...)
157 East Houston Street