Mi Tocaya Antojeria

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Mi Tocaya is modeled after antojerias in Mexico, which chef Diana Davila described as casual places that serve comfort food. Her take spins modern; the Milanesa ($14), for example, is made with sweetbreads of beef instead of fillets of pork or chicken. "I wanted to combine (family recipes) with my professional cooking experience," says Davila, who also worked at Ryan Poli's now-closed Butter and studied with Susana Trilling at the Seasons of the Heart cooking school in Oaxaca, Mexico. Among the more fascinating dishes is one called peanut butter and lengua ($10). Davila says it's not quite as out-there as it sounds: The "peanut butter" is presented as a peanut-based salsa. For the tongue, she braises the beef until tender, cuts it into cubes and then pan-sears the pieces to order. "That way they get nice and crispy."Though the restaurant doesn't have room for a trompo, the large vertical spit used to cook meats such as al pastor, Davila wanted to have al pastor tacos on the menu. Her solution: Slice pork shoulder into thin pieces, rub them with an adobo made with annatto seeds, chiles and pineapple vinegar, and leave them to marinate for 12 hours. The pieces are layered, slowly roasted and cooled, then sliced off and crisped up to order on the griddle. Larger-format dishes, meant to share, include a caldo de res ($24), a huge bowl of soup that contains tongue, short ribs and bone marrow, along with rice and tortillas on the side.