Chef Luis Arce Mota and bartender Alex Valencia want to bring a bit of their native Mexico to their Lower East Side restaurant La Contenta. The 14 seat restaurant offers some bar seating and just a few small tables, and is decorated with a large mural on the back wall.
The Menu: Valencia, who previously worked at Yerba Buena and the Flatiron Room, has assembled a list of hard-to-find agave drinks, including the elusive pulque, a beverage made from agave sap fermented into a cloudy, sweet, beer-like drink. Pulque can also be found at Pulqueria on the Lower East Side (go figure), but otherwise is near impossible to find in NYC. Here, it's mixed into cocktails with brandy, aloe vera, strawberries, and lemon. The restaurant also has a solid list of mezcals, tequilas, and other agave spirits, and of course offers your basic margarita. In the kitchen, Mota, who opened Cafe Condesa and Ofrenda, is cooking a Mexican-ish menu where queso fundido is made with goat cheese and Monterey jack and seafood risotto is an option. More traditional Mexican dishes, like chicken in mole and grilled cactus, also make appearances.