TOMORROW IS THE 154TH ANNIVERSARY of the day that Mexico defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. You may know it as the anniversary of that time you got an amazing deal on a fantastic margarita. Either way, we’re talking Cinco de Mayo. And frankly, queso puffs aren’t going to cut it for marking the day Mexico nipped its French occupation in the bud. And what could be more Mexican than Arnaldo Richards’ Picos and its devotion to representing all seven culinary regions of the Monterrey native chef’s homeland.
Beginning at 6 p.m. tomorrow, a DJ will provide musical accompaniment as diners spill onto the patio to take photo booth shots to help remember the day. But all day, there are deals to be had, including $10 Perfect Margaritas and $8 frozen cocktails made from top-shelf liquors, crafted by bartender Richards’ daughter, Monica. Members of the $2 club will score oyster tequila shooters and Tecates for that price. But given those savings, it only makes sense to spend a little more on the exceptional fare.
Simple pleasures don’t get much more profound than Mexican rice covered in cinnamon-suffused mole negro and paired with a pair of poached eggs.
IMAGE: ALICE LEVITT Huachinango tikin-xic, $29.
Guacamole, like Pico’s famous margaritas, is made tableside. Throughout May, diners can add whatever fixings they choose in a promotion called “Guac This May.” There are conservative basics such as pepitas and cilantro, but also worm or cricket salt. Whole crickets, roasted with chile and garlic, are an extra $2.
But the best things about Picos are the dishes diners are unlikely to find elsewhere without a plane ticket. The Yucatan is well-represented with dishes such as the achiote-basted snapper that’s grilled over banana leaves. And they’re available every day, whether celebrating an historic battle, or just a combative day at work.