The Famous Corn at Habana OutpostEveryone loves that old summer classic: corn on the cob. But too many years of the sub-par supermarket variety, simply boiled, can ruin your taste for it. Enter the new corn on the cob, in its gussied-up Mexican incarnation, elotes. Also called esquites, this is guaranteed to renew your passion. Most important, in this version, the corn is grilled, preferably over charcoal. Then it’s rolled in a good coating of crumbled cotija cheese (grated Parmesan works well too), sprinkled with some mild ground chile, and spritzed with lime. Some squirt mayonnaise on too, but that can be too heavy (and a little trashy). This is a staple snack in Mexico, usually munched on shopping trips. Now it’s turning up at restaurants around the city, riding the vogue for Mexican street food. On the Lower East Side, Café el Portal and El Bocadito (reopening on August 15) offer authentic elotes, while El Centro in Hell’s Kitchen presents it as a more gringo-style side. In Brooklyn, Clemen’s in Windsor Terrace is known for its corn on the cob, and the dish is on the menu at Pacifico in Boerum Hill.

But the restaurant appearance that comes closest to the snack’s roots can be found at Habana Outpost in Fort Greene. Here you pick up your order in an open-air courtyard, from the window of a decommissioned postal truck that serves as the restaurant’s main kitchen. Flanking the truck are communal picnic tables centered around a stone fountain. On the weekends, vendors also pop up, forming a mini flea market with homemade jewelry and clothes. It may feel a little ersatz, but you can’t beat the corn ($2) for a light meal on a hot day. The kernels take on a lovely caramelized char from the grill, which heightens the corn’s natural sweetness in a way no other preparation can. This is kept in check by the citrus juice and pepper, while the generous amount of cheese (no mayo here) ensures the corn doesn’t go down dry. As accompaniment, grab a beer or a frozen margarita. And if that doesn’t cool you down enough, stand by the yard’s misting tube, which constantly sprays cool water into the air. The crowd is full of cool kids from the hood, and as you carry your tray to one of the communal tables, you may have flashbacks to high school. If the scene is too much, just unwrap the foil on your corn, squeeze the lime, chomp down, and imagine you’re on a beach in some tropical clime.