On Friday, Stephen Starr opened a New York branch of El Vez in Battery Park City — a neighborhood that he told Grub “wasn’t really the first choice,” but he fell in love with the space itself (and, well, the more affordable rent). Like Buddakan and Morimoto, El Vez is a big restaurant with an ornate design: The Rockwell Group created the feel of a roadside cantina with a dining room that mimics a garage, a hand-painted mural, and soon, a grab-and-go burrito stand. The menu isn’t supposed to reflect authentic Mexican cuisine — it’s filled with fun, familiar dishes, like build-your-own tacos, oxtail enchiladas, classic corn on the cob, and three types of guacamole.
Black-bean enchiladas.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Mezcal!Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Snapper Aguachile.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
“It’s not overly thematic, but it’s fun,” Starr says.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Well, no one ever said Starr was understated.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
El Vez, 259 Vesey St., 212-233-2500