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 even catching up to Pujol on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, where they ranked #25 and #13 for 2018, respectively.
A year before Cosme opened, I visited Mexico City for the first time and had the pleasure of dining at Pujol, Olvera's flagship restaurant.
Chef Olvera happened to be in the front of house as I was leaving after lunch. I had the chance to tell him how much I enjoyed the tasting menu directly.
Brunch at Cosme NYC
Fernanda said there was a dessert there I had to try.
They now live in NYC, near where I grew up in Westchester, while, ironically, I'm living in Mark's home town of Austin, TX.
We've now dined together at three restaurants from The World's 50 Best list on three different continents (Tim Raue in Berlin, D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, and Cosme in NYC), something I can't say about anyone else I know.
Since I was still on my cocktail tour of NYC, I ordered a light, refreshing Gin & Shrub ($18) to start:
- Fords Gin
- Dorothy Parker
- Strawberry shrub
- Q Tonic
If you prefer to stay with the Mexican theme, the classics are also available: a margarita (Cimarrón Blanco, Combier, lime) or paloma (Cimarrón Reposado, house-made grapefruit syrup, lime, soda, grapefruit salt).
The bar features several dozen varieties of tequilas and mezcals.
Wine is available, too.
The brunch menu features six small plates, four main courses, and four desserts.
Some of the small plates still on the menu as I write this include:
- Arctic char tostada
- Prawn tostada
- Corn omelet
They are priced between $18-$25, except for the quesadilla, which was only $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, that creamy, complex sauce born 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 offerings on Cosme's brunch menu include:
- Branzina a la Talla (a type of fish, served whole)
- Enfrijolada (enchilada) with ricotta, hoja santa (an aromatic herb), and queso fresco
- Lamb Barbacoa (tacos) with shishito peppers, quelites, avocado, and salsas
The entrees ranged from $19-$35, with the lamb tacos being $69 (as there's enough to share).
And then there was dessert. There was no question, we were ordering the signature husk merengue with corn mousse.
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.
The recipe, should you want to make it at home, is available in Chef Enrique Olvera's Mexico From the Inside Out cookbook.
The service at Cosme was excellent, which is what you expect, given the cost to dine there, and the ambiance was casual and comfortable.
Just last month, at age 28, fellow Mexican Chef Daniela Soto-Innes, with whom Olvera opened Cosme, was named the youngest ever 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.
Need to Know
- Address: 35 East 21st Street, New York City, NY, USA
- Hours: 12-2:30 pm and 5:30-11 pm Monday to Friday, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm and 5:30-11:30 pm Saturday to Sunday
- Dress: Casual
- To view current menus and make reservations, visit the website
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