Feeling Chile

Get Mexican cubed at three new spots

It is an urban legend that there is no good Mexican food in New York City.

Just ask, for example, the immigrants from the state of Puebla cooking in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Now there is even more great Mexican: A rash of fine-dining chefs has recently been taken with chile fever, opening restaurants that barrel through the Mexican larder with a fervor that's more commonly reserved for the Italian pantry these days.

Here, tips from our tour of three.

Empellón Cocina: The West Village taquería from chefs Alex Stupak and Lauren Resler is good; their thoughtful East Village venture is great, taking regional Mexican techniques and flavors on a mad carousel ride. To eat: darn near everything, but especially tamal colado ($9), a delicate, Yucatán-inspired preparation loaded with achiote-spiced chicken that is better than most of the tamales colados we've eaten in Mexico.

Añejo Tequileria: Angelo Sosa, of Social Eatz fame, has created a boisterous Hell's Kitchen restaurant devoted to good tequila and mezcal, plus easygoing food that plays along nicely. To eat: queso fresco braised with ancho chiles ($11); corn dumplings with charred corn and chorizo ($11).

Gran Eléctrica: The Colonie crew has launched this spot in Dumbo. The food deliciously leaps far beyond familiar tropes. To eat: tacos de lengua (tongue) and rajas y acelgas (poblano pepper and Swiss chard; both $6); tortitas de huauzontle, an egg fritter loaded with an uncommon Mexican vegetable ($10).