At their buzzy downtown hotspot, chef Ignacio Mattos and partner Thomas Carter pack the house for their subversively understated small plates. (In 2014, traffic was brought to a slow creep on busy Houston Street when President Obama dined at the restaurant.) The tartare—hand-cut beef folded with pickled elderberries and fried sunchoke shards—is the best in town. And Mattos’s rendition of mussels escabeche proffers the plump shellfish perched on aioli-slathered toasts in a vinegary, bright green broth. If you don’t have a reservation, go early or be prepared to dance around servers by the crammed marble bar; order their take on a Negroni, made with mezcal, Cynar, sweet vermouth, and thyme, and the wait won't feel so bad.