Tinto Cocina + Cantina: The tour

We don't know why it is that the better the Mexican food, the more unassuming and humble the surrounds tend to be, but it leaves us with an age-old ache in our hearts: We want the good tacos — the ones with the handmade corn tortillas, scattered with tiny, jewel-cut diced onions and just-chopped cilantro and housemade salsas — but we also want a nicely mixed cocktail, a room that has seen a recent coat of paint, a ceasefire on the blasting telenovelas in the corner, and maybe a candle on the table at night. Tinto Cocina + Cantina has all of these things and more: brunch, great dessert, a sidewalk patio. The menu is mostly a tightly focused compendium of Mexican and Caribbean favorites, and is at its best when faithful to the classics, like tacos, ropa vieja, and pernil. The prices are even better: The whole happy hour menu is five bucks. The wine, the beer, the snacks, five bucks. No menu item is ever over $20. Plus, the kids' menu includes a color-your-own Luchadore mask. That's worth a visit alone, is it not?