Antojeria La Popular
Raw tuna, avocados and crispy leeks atop a blue-corn tostada

New York, we love you. But your Mexican options are weak.

Much to our delight, however, Antojería La Popular has arrived.

Kind of like the perfect casual Friday (relaxed but still put together), the new Nolita joint has the heart of a hole-in-the-wall (antojería means ?street snacks eatery?) but with a haute-cuisine edge (hello, ceviche tacos) and incredibly authentic Mexican flavors (poblano, serrano and habañero for days).

In all honesty, though, what really lured us in was the salty, fried and much-anticipated cricket tostada ($6). It seems the rest of the city also came out to try the dish, as the restaurant had plain run out--for the time being at least.

But all the same, we devoured our hearty pita tostada (with shrimp, bacon, avocado, creamy queso chihuahua and chipotle mayo, $6), mole-roasted beets ($5) and grilled corn (off the cob and in a spicy cream sauce, $5).

For our already planned next visit, our sights are set on the casserole-like chilaquiles. And hopefully a cricket or two.

50 Spring St. (at Mulberry St.); 646-476-3567 or lapopularnyc.com

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