In 2014, Chef Enrique Olvera opened Cosme NYC, a contemporary Mexican restaurant in Manhattan's Flatiron district.
NYC has plenty of Mexican restaurants. However, Cosme became a hit because it introduced diners to a more sophisticated approach to Mexican cuisine.
Cosme is catching up to Pujol on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, where they rank #9 and #22, respectively.
A year before Cosme opened, I visited Mexico City for the first time and enjoyed dining at Pujol, Olvera's flagship restaurant.
Chef Olvera happened to be in the front of the house as I was leaving after lunch, and I had the chance to tell him how much I enjoyed the tasting menu directly.
Dining at Cosme
Fast forward five years, and I met my friends Mark Manson and his wife, Fernanda Neute, for brunch at Cosme. Fernanda said there was a dessert there I had to try.
I got to know Mark, author of the bestselling book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and Fernanda while we lived in Medellin, Colombia.
They were living in NYC at the time of our meal, near where I grew up, while, ironically, I'm living in Mark's hometown of Austin, TX.
We've now dined together at three restaurants from The World's 50 Best list on three continents (Tim Raue in Berlin, D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, and Cosme in NYC), something I can't say about anyone else.
Since I was still on my cocktail tour of New York City, I ordered a light, refreshing Gin & Shrub ($18) to start:
- Fords Gin
- Dorothy Parker
- Strawberry shrub
- Q Tonic
Suppose you prefer to stay with the Mexican theme.
The classics are available in that case: a margarita (Cimarron Blanco, Combier, lime) or paloma (Cimarron Reposado, house-made grapefruit syrup, lime, soda, grapefruit salt).
Cosme's beverage program features artisanal spirits, including several dozen varieties of tequilas and mezcals. A wine list is available, too.
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The Cosme NYC brunch menu features small plates, main courses, and four desserts.
Some of the small plates on the menu include:
- Striped bass with salsa macha ceviche
- Blue shrimp aguachile
- Quesadilla (epazote or mushroom)
- Chilaquiles (green with chicken or red with egg)
- Corn omelet
They are priced between $18 and $25, except for the quesadilla for $8. We skipped these to save room for dessert.
For my main course, I chose the duck enmoladas smothered in red mole sauce with a dollop of creme fraiche ($25).
I love mole; it's a creamy, complex sauce full of Mexican flavors from the kitchens of Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico.
Eating mole in all its forms and colors is one of the reasons I spent two months in Oaxaca before settling in Austin.
Pairing it with duck, instead of my usual choice of chicken, made this dish all the more indulgent.
Additional Mexican food offerings on Cosme's brunch menu include:
- Enfrijolada (enchilada) with market vegetables, and queso fresco
- Lamb Barbacoa (tacos) with shishito peppers, quelites, avocado, and salsas
The entrees ranged from $19 to $35, with the lamb tacos being $69 (as there's enough to share).
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And then there was dessert. There was no question; we were ordering the signature corn husk meringue.
To make the meringues, corn husk leaves are burnt and blended into a fine powder which is whipped into egg whites and sugar until stiff.
For the corn mousse, sweet American corn puree is blended with heavy cream and mascarpone cheese.
The result is an ideal mingling of textures and flavors: the smoothness of the corn mousse up against the delicate chew of the meringue, and the savory hit from the burnt husk and corn contrasting with the sweetness of the cream, sugar and mascarpone.Zagat
The beautifully presented, Mexico-inspired dessert lit up my eyes and delighted my taste buds.
Should you want to make it at home, the recipe is available in Chef Enrique Olvera's Mexico From the Inside Out cookbook.
The service at Cosme NYC was excellent, which you'd expect, given the cost to dine there, and the ambiance was casual and comfortable.
At age 28, fellow Mexican Chef Daniela Soto-Innes, with whom Olvera opened Cosme, was named the youngest recipient of the World's Best Female Chef award by the World's 50 Best Restaurants.
Watch the quick video below to learn more about her.
Plan Your Visit
- Address: 35 East 21st Street, New York City
- Hours: Dinner 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday, Brunch noon to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
- Dress: Casual
- To view current menus and make reservations, visit the website.
In October 2020, chef Olvera opened Damian, described as the "twin brother" of Cosme, in downtown Los Angeles' Arts District.