Crema: Neo-Mexican from French-trained chef Julieta Ballesteros (who was a consultant for Gordon Ramsay on 'Kitchen Nightmares,' by the way). 111 West 17th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues; 212-691-4477; cremarestaurante.com
On the bar menu: Sea bass ceviche with coconut-ginger broth, crispy chicken flautas with caramelized onions and chili aioli, slow-cooked pork mini-tacos with jalapeño vinegar, sweet plantains with cinnamon and chile.
They'll run you: Everything on the bar menu – which is served all day long -- is $5 or under
Washed down with: A ginger-and-passion fruit margarita imperial, or a mojito with raw sugar and muddled strawberries
Tip: Hit Crema Monday to Friday between 5 and 7PM, and the cocktails (regularly $7-16) are delightfully 2-for-1.