Taka Taka’s chefs' cross-continental fusion of Japanese and Mexican cuisines results in spicy creations, including sushi rolls dusted in chipotle flavorings alongside tacos stuffed with tempura meats or sesame sauces. These mixed plates arrive tableside via a conveyor belt, a style of dining popularized in Tokyo in the late 1950s, when many factory assembly robots left their positions to pursue becoming sushi chefs. As the conveyor belts parade the vibrant, artful dishes in front of guests, they grab their desired plate as it appears or make a special order if they don’t see what they seek. Staffers cleverly color-code the plates to indicate price, with little numbers corresponding to the menu, which details the ingredients hidden within each wrapped tortilla or seaweed leaf.
Thierry Amezcua recreates the restaurant atmosphere he remembers from his native Mexico City with classic recipes, artwork borrowed from his brother, and even a bartender from his former neighborhood, Coyoacán. With help in the kitchen from his wife, Debby, as well as expertise gained during stints at Savoy and Il Buco, Amezcua fills Papatzul's menu with nopalitos––prickly pear stems––dashes of chipotle, yucca roots, and other singular Mexican flavors. Chilaquiles, in a choice of green tomatillo poblano or red pasilla chili sauce, kick off the brunch menu alongside huevos rancheros with avocado and queso fresco. Appetizers such as the elote de Coyoacán—dubbed "obscenely tasty" by Forbes—slather corn on the cob with cream, cheese, and spicy chilis. Diners can sample lunch and dinner entrees such as seafood enchiladas or tacos with braised chipotle beef. Behind the bar, dozens of tequilas showcase the spirit's versatility, and can be sipped straight or stirred into fruit and flower margaritas. Mexican masks and Day of the Dead–inspired paintings dot the dining-room walls above long leather banquettes, where Amezcua maintains a festive party atmosphere with soft lighting, strings of colorful papel picado, and a wait staff that communicates only through confetti poppers.
Le Pescadeux's menu reads more like a road map than a collection of dishes, emphasizing the classical French techniques and flavors that influence cuisine from the Canadian coast to the American bayou. In addition to forging Quebec-style clam chowder and platefuls of poutine, the chefs also sear andouille breakfast sausages and glaze Cajun-spiced rock shrimp with blue cheese. Even with such a transcontinental scope, seafood is the main attraction at Le Pescadeux. This focus is readily apparent in the kitchen's signature bouillabaisse: a hearty seafood stew that "sings of lobster and saffron" according to the New York Times. Even the eatery's decor echoes its maritime commitment. A simple blue-and-white sign depicting a fisherman and the restaurant's name hangs beside the front door, and two impressionistic paintings of a seaside cityscape dominate a wall in the dining room. During warm months, the entire front wall of foldable doors opens to the street, allowing diners to enjoy breezes of fresh air tinged with imported Gulf spray.
Antelmo Ambrosio, the executive chef at Manhattan restaurant South West NY, curates a menu of sophisticated southwestern cuisine tinged with flavors of his native Oaxaca, Mexico. For example, he adds shaved red onion to squid-dorado ceviche and pairs mojo-marinated steak with chipotle-laced whipped potatoes and tumbleweed onions. Guests can sip drinks, such as the prickly pear margarita, while relaxing in the restaurant's rustic-chic dining room or head outdoors to a heated garden area.
South West NY's design, much like its menu, fuses sleek Manhattan style with the warmth of the southwest. Check out a few of the eatery's aesthetic highlights.
|Colossal Skylights||An Industrial Fireplace||Reclaimed Wood|
|Huge skylights crown the dining room and bar area, bringing in beams of shimmering sunlight or views of the moon.||An industrial-chic fireplace stretches 10 feet long, holding blue and gold flames within its metal surfaces.||Ruddy planks of reclaimed wood lend a rustic touch to the restaurant's interior.|
La Camelia manages to both embrace Mexico’s traditional culinary techniques and keep it fresh with contemporary influences. The chefs create tortillas in-house and load tacos with ingredients such as wild mushrooms or chorizo, but they also demonstrate a willingness to depart from established recipes and add new flavors to familiar dishes. The menu’s salsas can feature bright notes of kumquat or blood orange, and a simple salad of baby arugula and jicama benefits from the hearty additions of duck confit and chipotle-spiked vinaigrette. Given this range of flavors, La Camelia’s selection of more than 100 different tequilas seems particularly fitting, allowing diners to find the perfect pairing for everything from citrus-tinged shrimp ceviche to chicken in rich mole sauce. The dining area’s cylindrical pendant lamps, recessed skylight, and curving red bar echo La Camelia’s modern inclinations, although the space features some traditional accents as well. A stone molcajete bowl sits atop each table like a centerpiece, waiting to be filled with freshly mixed guacamole or to be immortalized in a still-life painting.