Pokéz Mexican Restaurant and Vegetarian Cuisine
947 E Street (at 10th), East Village
The wooden cutout Aztec dude on a skateboard tells the tale: This is Aztlan territory. The boss, Rafael, started this when he was 18. A lot of downtown's Goth crowd hangs out here, all dressed in black, leather, tattoos, heavy piercings, Doc Martin boots, red- and blue-dyed hair, and hoods. Which means interesting conversations. And stickers everywhere. Skateboard stickers, record label stickers, band stickers -- and the seal of approval from the Green Restaurant Association. You come here for the scene, but also for the vegetarian, mostly Mexican food. There's some meat, like chicken or steak ranchero with sautéed mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, or fajitas -- with sautéed chicken, steak, or tofu. Or be daring. Try Item #13, called "You don't want it!"