Between the likes of Bubby’s and Kitchenette, there’s a healthy selection of unhealthy selections in the triangle below Canal, but none is more rico or suave than Los Americanos, a pan-Latino comfort food spot from the folks behind neighborhood favorite Macao Trading Co.
Red leather banquettes, two-toned green tile floors (specifically, the tones of the Blue’s Clues guy’s shirt), and wood-paneled walls are vibrant enough to feel like the diner goes to Habana. A backlit selection of top-shelf tequilas and mezcals adds just enough modern swank to remind those waiting for a table that it’s still Tribeca. Also a reminder—the guacamole and plantain chips, which are a must to start, run a good $12. The top half of the menu offers a tour of Latino street fare, hitting pupusas, empanadas, and tacos. Another must is the pabellon arepa, with its shredded beef and rich maduros between two slices of a fried and crumbly Venezuelan corn cake. A generous goblet of poached octopus highlights the ceviches, blended with sliced red potatoes for added density.
The cocktail list deserves a thorough picking-over, but the house favorite, Under The Volcano, is a master blend of aroma and bite, thanks to its mezcal, rosemary, and jalapeño. Bottles of beer come from exotic locals—pop a Cristal from Peru—but our waitress insisted they’re safely refreshing (“The bartenders say they all taste like Bud Light.”)
The real glory of Los Americanos has to be its late-night menu. According to the owner, Billy Gilroy, “one guy in the kitchen” continues to crank out the aforementioned arepas, plates full of churros, and what has to be the best Cuban sandwich on the island of Manhattan, steadily until 4am. It may not be the cheapest of spots, but as one Gerardo Mejia once said, it’s the price you pay for being a gigolo. Rrrrrico.