Stephen Starr's beloved Philadelphia Mexican joint now has a home in New York's Battery Park City, with Starr's signature casual-yet-contemporary style, the brand's blend of Mexican and Mexican-American cuisine, and a real south-of-the-border spirit. Everything is made from scratch according to the most authentic culinary traditions and techniques, and the menu is so ranging and reliable that it's pointless to highlight any specific dishes. Literally anything you pick will be among the best you've ever had. That being said, seriously consider the brisket or achiote grilled fish tacos (or both; why deprive yourself?) and the cowboy steak, a 28oz. bone-in, dry-aged ribeye affair seasoned to absolute, tongue-torturing perfection.
El Vez is located in the Battery Park City neighborhood of Manhattan. Battery Park City is proof that it isn't always impossible to find new land in Manhattan—sometimes you just need to make some: its 92 acres came out of the era when the World Trade Center was originally constructed, when millions of cubic yards of bedrock and soil were excavated and used to reclaim part of the Hudson River for landlubbers. While the neighborhood is home to 1 World Trade Center and abuts the Financial District, it is, like it's other neighborh, Tribeca, largely residential, with approximately one third of the area devoted to terrific parks such as Hudson River Park, the eponymous Battery Park, and a spectacular waterfront esplanade. One of Battery Park City's defining characteristics is its newness—unlike most of New York City, the neighborhood is comprised of relatively recent construction, and so it has a feel that's very unlike nearby Tribeca and SoHo. In the southern portion you'll find most of Battery Park City's residential neighborhoods, mostly high rise complexes with an assortment of stores on their ground floors. While there are a number of shops here, the feel is quite unlike elsewhere in the city; on a cold winter day the wind whips around and you'll hardly see the nannies and baby carriages that are plentiful on a warm day. Battery Park City is also home to one of New York's most famous high schools, Stuyvesant, whose challenging entrance examination attracts thousands of students each year. Riverside views abound in Battery Park itself, which is home to jogging paths and dog parks and, most notably, the Irish Hunger Memorial, a stunning piece of heath rising right in Manhattan and paying tribute to the millions who died in the Great Irish Famine of the 1800s. Right down the street, you'll find the sobering 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the soaring 1 World Trade Center that replaced the Twin Towers, as well as the shops and restaurants at the new Brookfield Place at the former World Financial Center building. Large complexes filled with residences and grounded by stores are the norm in Battery Park City, for instance, the Conrad New York is skirted by the requisite Shake Shack, North End Grill, and the second location of Danny Meyer's jazz and comfort food joint Blue Smoke, not to mention the two floors of movie theaters at Regal Battery Park, just across the street from P.J. Clarke's on the Hudson. Given the proximity of so many financial institutions, the area is home to some excellent hotels, ranging from the world-class Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park to the more residential Marriott ExecuStay Rector Square and the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conrad New York. While you'll find some nice possibilities for dining at the World Financial Center and Winter Garden, other dining options within Battery Park City aren't the most fascinating in this city of world-class cuisine. However, nearby Tribeca has a great number of excellent selections.
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