Amigo by Nai's carnitas tacos (Image via Instagram)

Amigo by Nai, which began life as a taqueria on lower Second Avenue in 2020, has metamorphosed into a full-service restaurant. Notice that I didn’t describe Amigo as a humble taqueria. It was never just another run-of-the-mill taco joint. Instead, from Day One its calling card was unique variations on the carnitas theme that had traveled to New York from Mexico by way of L.A. — and across two generations to boot.

You can still get the signature maciza (pork butt with the bone in) buche (pork stomach), and cueritos (pork skin) tacos in the new incarnation, but now the menu also includes the likes of costilla, a confit of baby back ribs with green mojo and radish; and tartare, prime ribeye that has aged 45-days, then served up in a nixtamalized tortilla with a splash of Pedro Ximenez-sherry vinegar, cilantro, and lemon.

A new brunch menu served Saturdays and Sundays includes a “taco de huevo eggs,” rounded out by kimchi (!), salsa brava, Manchego cheese, and arugula. More cross-cultural hybridization is essayed in the tostago de aguacate, a slice of sourdough laden with gravlax, avocado, pico de gallo, and eggs.

Amigo by Nai, 29 Second Avenue, 212-933-4487