From Bar Exam to Bar

ZirZamin brings the best of Austin to Soho

It's rare for New York to be lacking in any area.

However, we will don our humble hats and acknowledge that Tex-Mex food is a rarity in our boroughs.

ZirZamin, the new, dramatically candlelit subterranean bar and music club straddling the border of Soho and Greenwich Village, is enlightening us with strapping tequila drinks, an ace burger and sunrise-yellow melted cheese.

And how! Stretchier, softer and cheesier than fondue, this chile con queso ($5) is assembled with Rotel diced tomatoes and Lone Star Beer, and served with fresh-fried tortilla chips (no chip warmers here).

Owner Paul Oveisi, who ditched a John Grisham-inspired legal career for Austin's music scene, has an agreement with his girlfriend to eat chile con queso only once a week. Thankfully, we have no such self-imposed strictures.

The burger ($7) too is fantastic, topped with a well-fried egg, crispy onions and bacon. We relished the egg, potato and pepper jack breakfast tacos (two for $6) with dabs of pico de gallo and salsa verde.

We'll confess, though, that we dipped every dish (even a romaine salad; $6) in that queso.

ZirZamin, 90 W. Houston St. (at W. Broadway); 646-823-9617 or zirzaminnyc.com