NYC Nosh: Modern Mexican @Cosme
Wandering around New York City will certainly work up an appetite. For someone who relishes Mexican cuisine as much as I do, I would have been remiss not to visit Cosme. Located in the Flatiron district, Cosme is the brainchild of world renown chef Enrique Olvera who is also the creative mastermind behind Pujol, located in Mexico, and Atla, located in New York City. With chef Olvera splitting his time between so many restaurants, Chef Daniela Soto-Innes is the girl-boss in charge at Cosme and soon to be Atla. Cosme has attracted quite a bit of fan fare in 2017 as they climbed to number 40 on the World's 50 Best Restaurant List (previously they earned a place among the 51-100 listings). Why not swing by and see what all the fuss is about.
35E 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
I may have over-estimated the traffic in NYC because we arrived about 15 minutes too early for brunch, along with about 10 other people (so I didn't feel nearly as bad). It turned out to work in my favor because I had a chance to wander around the restaurant and soak up the scenery. I particularly enjoyed the use of wine and coffee table books throughout the restaurant. The light wood really brightened the overall space. And let's take a minute and check out this bar. ENDLESS. OPTIONS. However, cocktails are a pretty penny, even at brunch.
After ordering a couple of cocktails (Bloody Maria and Paloma, both of which I would recommend), we perused the menu.
My mom is not the most adventuresome when it comes to food. Throwing some Cholula on her eggs or having extra crispy bacon is about as wild as she gets. So you can imagine she was a bit perplexed looking at the menu. After a little goading and help from our server, I twisted her arm and started ordering for the table.
Easing her into this culinary adventure, we started with the Nopal Cactus Salad served with Market Greens and Ayocote puree. Looks are quite deceiving. While this appears to the most basic of green salads, all of the deliciousness is underneath. I really enjoyed nibbling on this throughout the meal as it helped balance out the richness of the main courses.
If you've been following me for long, you know I love fine dining and exploring exotic food, but I still love some things that would be deemed "basic" (aka Pizza from the Costco Food Court). For instance, I couldn't pass up snacking on this simple Mushroom Quesadilla. It may have been the cheesiness and the mushrooms combined or maybe it was the salsa verde, but it was damn good.
Remember I mentioned my mom not being the adventurous foodie that I am? Well, I have to give her props as she ordered Huevos Rancheros served with refried beans, mushrooms, and queso fresco. Look how killer this dish is? I was fortunate enough to steal a bite or two, but knowing that she wouldn't dare touch mine (you will see why in just a second), I decided to let her enjoy and eat in peace. Aren't those eggs just perfect?
One question I often ask the server when going to a restaurant of this nature is "if I could never come back again and dine with you all, what is the ONE dish that I can't miss? I don't want the most popular or what they are telling you to push, what are you in love with at the moment?" Without a doubt, the server immediately responded Duck Enmoladas. Therefore, I ordered Duck Enmoladas. Overhearing rumblings and orders from neighboring tables, I knew the server did not steer me wrong. Plus, you know me and my "research." The duck was an overwhelming favorite.
I die. This was one brunch dish that knocked me out of my seat for many reasons. First, let's take a moment to admire the beauty of this dish. I don't think I've ever seen Mexican fare look so gorgeous. I love the brightness of the creme fraiche and how it contrasts against the mole rojo. The jalapenos and herbs provide that perfect pop of color and flavor to the dish. Second, the shredded duck basically melted in my mouth. Any concern I had about it being dry or bland went away after I took that first bite. Lastly, the mole rojo. Over the past few months, I've been more exposed to mole sauces and what a labor of love they truly are. This is by no means a simple sauce. Great mole sauces have 20+ ingredients and are cooked for days on end. This mole rojo was out of this world. It was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy progressing in flavor with each bite. I only wish I knew how many ingredients went into that concoction.
Truth: If I weren't in public, I probably would have licked the bowl. Eeek!
Seeing as my mom was such a trooper, I decided to let her order dessert. Yes, I know. We ordered dessert after all of that food. Her sweet tooth honed in on the Churros and Mexican Hot Chocolate, while I was secretly hoping she would want the famous Husk Meringue. Just as she was about to place the order, I interrupted her and had to get the server's input. He said, she's right. The churros are the can't miss dessert even though everyone loves the Husk Meringue. I'd go with those. And so it was.
Did you see the picture below? I wasn't mad about it one bit. In fact, they were amazing. Little light, fluffy clouds of cinnamon goodness at my finger tips ready to be dipped in Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Chef Enrique Olvera and Chef Daniela Soto-Innes have elevated Mexican cuisine in New York City and for that matter the United States. Dishes are ambitious, imaginative and approachable. Heck, my mom loved it! The cocktails are on the higher end of the pricing spectrum, but if this is my only complaint, I'd say it was a solid experience. However, I am quite curious how a restaurant of this caliber ends up on the World's 50 Best List but doesn't merit a Michelin star? Quite the quandry, if you ask me.
Tariff: Cocktails range between $15-$17 and with entrees ranging between $8-$69. Our bill with tip was approximately $200 for two people. Although if you go the non-alcoholic route, your tab will be much cheaper.
Can't Miss: Duck Enmoladas and Churros
Potential Pass: Nopal Cactus Salad ( Even though I enjoyed it, I wouldn't have missed it)
Until next time!