Neighborhood: West Village
Address: 230 W 4th St.
Price: $12/18 (appetizer/entree)
At Alex Stupak's sleek, innovative taqueria, fish tacos don't invoke a surfer sentiment. Instead, these impecable dogfish (yes, shark) tacos are created with a designer's sensibility and a scientist's precision. The firm hunk of fish is dipped in a Negro Modelo batter aerated with Co2, resulting in tempura coating that is lighter, fluffier, and more crisp than any you've had before. This is how Stupak's creation sons every baja fish taco you've ever had. The fish is anchored to an oversized corn tamale with a bright lime crema, some finely shredded cabbage, and a pickled jalepeno relish that is tart and spicy all at once. A thin slice of radish and micro cilantro are applied with tweezers. We try to act unimpressed, but two bites in, we're smitten. Forget surfers. We respect a chef who can cobble together many elements that seem contradictory, but in unison, sing.