Must-See Washington Heights
by Laura Kusnyer, 07/31/2013
Mamajuana. Photo: Joe Buglewicz
The Inwood Plaza Scene
Inwood Plaza is a diminutive, triangle-shaped green space on the northern end of Fort Tryon Park, just near the Dyckman Street stop on the A line. Across the street from the plaza is an area that could be called Washington Heights' restaurant row. It's outdoor-seating central here, where seats from adjacent venues would get mixed up if not for the waist-high barriers marking off properties. Mamajuana Cafe (catty-corner from Inwood Plaza) is the most popular—due likely in part to its reverence for all things Dominican, as seen on the walls covered with colorful blown-up images of la patria. Directly across the street from Inwood Plaza are a handful of food-and-drink spots: Mamasushi, Mamajuana's Japanese sister venue, is the hottest newcomer; Il Sole, an Italian restaurant, might be the fanciest of the bunch; Corcho Wine Room takes the prize for the most in-the-know servers and charming ambience (the tiny space appears to be carved out of wood); and Papasito Mexican Grill & Agave Bar is by far the loudest—a compliment no doubt to the wild crew both at and behind the bar.
Since they're just inland of La Marina, the Inwood Plaza bars and restaurants are ideal for a nightcap after dinner at La Marina. Mamajuana Cafe has a back patio, where guests can relax with a $5 beer, pitcher of sangria or—and this one's a must—a Mamajuana mojito or margarita. Mamajuana, a combination of roots and herbs once used to cure ailments by the Dominican Republic's native Taino Indians, is commonly known as an aphrodisiac.