Cocina Economica Mexico's Homestyle Cooking | Upper West Side, NYC

Mexican home cooking on the Upper West Side

Fanciful Margaritas. Lobster sopes. A refined tamal colado.

There is plenty of good Mexican food in Manhattan, despite the cries of the falsely salsa-deprived.

What we have not found much of is satiating, straightforward Mexican home cooking. Then Cocina Economica Mexico opened on the Upper West Side.

After three years in business, David Bank shuttered his restaurant Recipe and rebirthed the space, with Pedro Hernandez Perez, the longtime sous chef of Bank's neighboring Thai restaurant, Land, overseeing the kitchen.

Perez has harnessed both his childhood in Puebla and the fruit of a recent research trip to Mexico for a menu of rare, home-style dishes.

Take Perez's braised vegetables ($13): Swiss chard, chayote and green beans are sautéed while lentils simmer with the spunky herb epazote. Then the two are melded with a lively tomatillo sauce. Simple and primal, it is the type of dish we have only encountered at friends' houses or in the pages of a Diana Kennedy cookbook.

Likewise, white pozole ($6), a recipe from Perez's mom, is an enveloping winter panacea, flanked by bowls of onions, cilantro and scorching puya chile salsa.

Welcome to the new (old) wave of Mexican in Manhattan.

Cocina Economica Mexico, 452 Amsterdam Ave. (between 81st & 82nd sts.); 212-501-7755 or