27 East 61st Street
New York, NY 10021
If you've got a case of the blues (or the mean reds) today, you'll be soothed by the colors, sounds and flavors of Mañana.
Reportedly inspired by the collaborations of native Mexican "Mama" Enriqueta Mendez and Chef Omar Luna, Mañana, Spanish for "tomorrow," boasts some fab Latin food, upbeat salsa music and of course, their signature lime-and-orange margaritas that'll drive you back to the future for more.
In November 2008, Serafina owners Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato opened Mañana in the former space of their now defunct Vietnamese eatery, Lollipop. Yet the new, sultry Latin lounge is a sure-fire winner, doubling as a fun family restaurant and hip nighttime party scene.
What I love about Mañana is its cozy-yet-sexy atmosphere with exposed brick walls, Aztecan designs, warm orange lights, and a zesty yellow back bar that shows off tequilas, wines and other top-shelf liqueurs.
I stopped by for lunch a few days ago, thinking I'd be "tasting" some Latin cuisine. Tasting. Yeah. Right.
I scooped up (chowed down) some of the heartiest, freshest guacamole with some warm, homemade blue and yellow corn tortilla chips. The clean, pungent taste of cilantro, lime, avocado, tomato and onion with the shattering of tortilla chips in my mouth was one I had to repeat again...and again...and again. It's a good thing I decided to walk instead of taking a cab.
And then came my entree: the Ceviche Trio--a fun presentation of four square ramekins brimming with shrimp, salmon and bass...and more of the addicting tortilla chips, off which I could feast day and night. The seafood, cured in the secret tangy lime-and-salsa marinades, broke apart easily with a fork. The shrimp was soft and delicate to the bite, not rubbery or chewy like some I've tried at other places. It was glorious.
I also enjoyed my sampling of the Grilled Chicken Tortilla Salad--starring the thin slices of grilled chicken coated with a smoky yet slightly sweet spice rub (I detected chili powder and maybe a hint of brown sugar), it featured mandarin oranges, shredded tortilla chips, and romaine lettuce.
My only problem? I can't control myself when you place too many tortilla chips in front of me. Especially when they're that damn good.
I left feeling satisfied and slightly tipsy from my margarita, ready to salsa aimlessly through the streets of Manhattan for the rest of the afternoon.
The Scoop on Mañana Restaurant:
Price Range: Moderate
Dress Code: Casual
Reservations needed? Only for large parties
Safe for those with Food Allergies? Yes. Several gluten, dairy and nut-free items on menu. Just inform your server ahead of time.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 6 p.m.-Midnight, lounge open until 2 p.m.
Subways: N, R, W to 5th Ave/59th St. & 4, 5, 6 to Lexington/59th