In 2003 Chef Sue Torres opened Suenos, a casual, subterranean Mexican eatery in Chelsea with dishes elevated way above the rote taco-and-burrito joints around the city. Chef Torres received high praise from critics at the Times and elsewhere for her inventive and exciting cooking, which she refined during extensive travels throughout Mexico. The flavors and traditions of Oaxaca, Puebla, Yucatan and other regions of Mexico are evident throughout the menu, from the yellow mole common in Oaxacan cuisine to achiote, a type of spice found in many dishes from the Yucatan.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of her restaurant, Chef Torres created a selection of Mexican barbecue dishes, adding both a mesquite wood smoker and a plancha—cast-iron griddle—to her kitchen. We sampled some of the new additions at a press preview last week and enjoyed the smokey, deep flavors imparted by the open flame cooking. Guava and Chile Pequin Glazed Ribs captured the sweet, smokiness Americans are accustomed to when we hear the word "barbecue," but with a nice kick of heat from the pequin pepper. The Smoked Duck Confit, served atop plantain and goat cheese gorditas with a tomato coulis, was rich, flavorful and generously portioned enough for some equally tasty leftovers the next day.

Besides the vibrant dishes, Chef Torres employs a little bit of culinary theatre into the meal, with an elevated tortilla station in one corner of the dining room. Diners can watch la Cocinera ("tortilla lady") expertly hand mold, press and griddle fresh corn dough for the tacos. It's harder than she makes it look, as we discovered when invited to make a few tortillas of our own. But whether they look symmetrical or not, the flavor of the masa and lard combination is absolutely delicious even when they're not filled with anything.

In addition to the new menu items, an expanded mezcal list highlights Mexico's other regional spirit, with 19 different mezcals from a variety of producers. Of those, eight are from Del Maguey, a single-village producer of the spirit, whose flavors run from an intense smokiness that rivals scotch to mellower bottles that have agave syrup added to them. If margaritas are more your speed, La Palmoa ($12) mixes Espolon Silver tequila with Mexican grapefruit juice and fresh lime for a refreshing, well-balanced summer drink.

311 W 17th Street, 212-243-1333

Suenos Dinner Menu