Hecho en Dumbo

By William Sertl

A light coating of vinegar-spiked oil clings like dew to each julienned strip of radish in the tangy ensalada de rábano. Delicious. But what are those silver-dollar-size slivers with the cherry pink centers, pretty enough to wear as a brooch? The chef, who just made the salad, is but a few feet away, looking out occasionally across the counter from the eat-in bar, so why not ask? Without missing a chop, Danny Mena shoots back: “Watermelon radishes, from Satur Farms on Long Island.” On a misty day along the Bowery, Hecho en Dumbo provides answers to a lot of questions, with easy comfort in a railroad space as warm inside as the day is bitter. The loftlike room, encased in brick and beams as thick as railroad ties, is filled with mismatched country chairs, none of which ever seem to be vacant in the evening. But I can’t resist the lure of the tucked-away counter in the rear, facing the kitchen, where plates are prepped before your eyes and pots sizzle and pop with a snap-to urgency. A bite of tuna taco squirts flavor from layered strands of sautéed leeks, and Mena notes that the red salsa on the condiment tray gets its heat from chipotle meco—“the smokiest chiles you can find.” I am happy to layer a spoonful over the fish and even more pleased with the impromptu cooking demo.

sweet seats

Any place in the spacious dining room is fine, but you have to head to the rear if you want a cooking class with your tacos.

chew on this

Mena and his partner, Ethan Smith, started Hecho en Dumbo as a late-night pop-up at the Dumbo General Store, often cooking in their apartment kitchen nearby and busing the food down to the café (whose kitchen was minuscule). So even though they have their own space now, the place was still “made in Dumbo.”


lunch: Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 AM–4 PM
dinner: Mon.–Thurs. 5:30 PM–12 midnight; Fri.–Sat. 5:30 PM–2 AM;
Sun. 5:30 PM– 11 PM
brunch: Sat.–Sun. 11:30 AM–4 PM

price range for lunch items

$8 (fish quesadillas) to $12 (free-range steak)


brunch: Sat-Sun 11:30 AM-4 PM
dinner: Mon-Thu 5:30 PM-11:30 PM; Fri-Sat 5:30 PM-12 AM; Sun 5:30 PM-11 PM