Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Little Bigger Place, New York

With no plans for lunch on Thursday, I took the opportunity to freestyle a different neighborhood (a really different neighborhood from Otemachi). Following my nose out of World Financial Center, across the pedestrian bridge, past Ground Zero, all the construction and the pile of gapers, I ended up walking north on West Broadway (which is west of Broadway). There were a few choices, but the southeast Asian place looked full and a little formal, and I saw this Mexican place right after that anyway...can't visit America without eating Mexican, can you?

The Little Bigger Place used to be The Little Place, but moved after 9/11. The new location is bigger. But not that big. It's friendly, it's colorful, and they quickly served up a gallon of iced tea and got about my order. This left me with time to admire the huge, awesome mural of peasants in revolt, armed troops cruelly mowing them down, and a mustachioed general arrogantly taking it all in. I may be misinterpreting it, actually. Maybe the noble peasants are overthrowing the army. In any case, it's some classic Mexican folk art, and livens up the room more than any 10-by-20 foot mural has a right to (interestingly, I saw a review that described this as 'straight-up faux Mexicana'. What if the owners and cooks and waitresses and the painter are all Mexican? Is it still faux just because it's in New York?).

One of the daily specials was the Vera Cruz set - fish tacos. I admit, my expectations for a fish taco were formed in San Diego (where when things get bad, at least you have the ocean). I ate a lot of fish tacos there once upon a time, of which all I can remember is the chain shop Rubio's. The fish in LBP's tacos was more stewed then the expected deep-fried (in fact I wondered a few times if it wasn't canned tuna, but you know how much I love canned tuna), which I guess is a la mode in Vera Cruz. Maybe SoCal fish tacos aren't the real thing? Or at least aren't straight up Vera Cruzerz. Hot sauce was some regional concoction I didn't expect, not hot at all. Good rice and beans.

I'd go back here any time if I worked in NY. Strangely, it was a Mexican lunch that tasted good but didn't leave me painfully full. That too may be a peculiarity of Vera Cruz. Next time, enchiladas...

Used to be a little smaller than it is now.

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