Ernest Hemmingway once said a “A man is nothing without a Harpoon and a bar that he can call home”….well I agree but he should added Mexican food into that somehow . At least that’s how I feel after my visit to No Fun in the Lower East Side.
No Fun is a simple concept. It is a smart combination of craft cocktails, authentic Mexican fare and the charm of a Lower East Side bar. You know what I mean- dark and red lighting, rustic tables and a stocked bar. To me that’s the hallmark of a non-pretentious LES experience.
My companion and I started the evening by meeting with Kim, one of the restaurant’s rep. A delightful blonde with fun energy who chatted with us about No Fun’s story. As we sat down over cocktails and dug into the new additions to their menu. I began with the El Gusano: a smoky little Mezcal cocktail with citrus notes while my friend had the Honey Trap, which was reminiscent of a strawberry milkshake with honey.
The first plate to arrive at our table was Guacamole and Chips. Now I’m usually skeptical of Guac that has tomatoes, because all too often the tomatoes aren’t seeded and it muddles the flavor. I was so glad that this was not the case as the consistency was robust but lacked the added moisture. The Guac was bright with the proper hint of lime and the perfect amount jalapeno to add a slight heat and spark.
Next up was the Posole, which was described to me as a homestyle Mexican stew. The Posole had a rich fatty slow braised pork with added hominy and onion. The flavors on this were deep somewhat similar to a chili but bigger. The occasional bite with cilantro provided an added dimension and a cooling lime crema to dollop proved a great way to balance the heat of the dish.
One of the newer additions to the menu that we sampled were the Sopas, which consisted of a flat deep fried corn masa as the vehicle for the Carne Asada steak, black beans, salsa and cotija. The meat was tender and perfectly paired well with the black beans and the cojita provided a nice element of light salt.
Most people when they think of a Mexican sandwich immediately think of the Torta. This evening I was introduced to the Cemita which at this point seemed like I had a slight religious experience. The Cemita bun is soft and squishy but had enough body to cradle its contents. At No Fun you can choose between a burger or the a fried chicken cutlet. Both impressed my companion and I but the cutlet was our preferred version. Growing up in an Italian household I have eaten more than my fair share of cutlets and this was a perfect one. Thin and perfectly fried to a way that would impress my own mother. The protein lies atop a layer of black beans avocado and then above was soft grilled onions with thick shredded Queso Blanco that resembled Udon at first glance. I can’t stress enough how delicious it was and that I will be back again for it.
Truly authentic hearty Mexican flavors are hard to find in this city. If you’re looking for a good cocktail and no frills Mexican go seek out No Fun in the LES. It should also be noted that they do take out. Just too bad you can’t bring the drinks home. For more information, check out their official site.