Restaurant Openings: March 2017 : New Worlder

New restaurants and bars are always popping up. To save you the trouble, we’ve put together a list of noteworthy openings on the culinary scene across the Americas (and beyond).

Enigma — Barcelona, Spain 

Labeled as Albert Adrià’s “culinary amusement park,” Enigma has been in development for over two years. Only open since the start of 2017, Enigma remains relatively clandestine, partially due to its strict rules towards photography and social media. This maze-like restaurant is headed by chef Oliver Peña, elBarri group sommelier Cristina Losada, and bartender Marc Álvarez. For such a large space, Enigma seats only 24 diners at a time. There are seven defined tasting areas that guests move through on their culinary journey. The overall tasting menu is altered at each service, offering guests a unique gastronomic experience each time.

Barra Lima — Lima, Peru

A new cevichería has just opened in the San Isidro neighborhood of Lima called Barra Lima, garnering got a rare great review from Peruvian restaurant critic Ignacio Medina of El Comercio. The restaurant is breaking free from tired cevicheria trends and offering a fresh, young perspective on Peruvian comfort food like fish sandwiches and causas. Medina particularly likes the tiradito de conchas, which is served with mango, sacha-tomate, camu camu juice and a cyanobacteria from Andean lakes called cushuro. The restaurant is small and casual with an open kitchen, graffiti on the walls, and a few street-side tables. Facebook Page.

Metta — Brooklyn, New York, USA

Argentine chef Norberto Piattoni and restaurateur Henry Rich bring South American open fire cooking to Brooklyn with their new spot, Mettā. Located in the Fort Greene neighborhood, guests can enjoy sustainably sourced, vegetable-focused dishes all cooked on a custom open fire designed by the chef. The former chef de cuisine at Francis Mallmann’s Restaurante Garzón in Uruguay, Piattoni brings years of fire-cooking to the new space. A chef-designed custom kitchen set-up, complete with a fire-powered parrilla (grill) and plancha (griddle) dominate the space. Some key menu items offered at the Brooklyn spot are charred beets with crème fraîche and rye berries, smashed potatoes with roe and scallion, and pork steak with charred cabbage & crabapple sauce.

Alta Calidad — Brooklyn, New York, USA

Located in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Alta Calidad is chef Akhtar Nawab’s first full-service, sit-down restaurant in almost a decade. Dishing up various small plates, tacos, and chips and dips, Alta Calidad is a homage to the chef’s passion for Mexican cuisine, one that developed after serving as head chef at downtown hotspot La Esquina. The bright restaurant includes communal tables where guests can also enjoy micheladas, margaritas, and spiked horchatas, once the liquor license is in place, of course.

Ruka — Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Located in the Godfrey Hotel, Ruka is Boston’s first dedicated Nikkei and Chifa restaurant. The team behind the successful Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, partners Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta and culinary director Tom Berry, seem to have a hit on their hands at Ruka. Cemented in Peruvian cuisine with heavy Japanese and Chinese inspirations, menu items like makimono (Japanese sushi roll), tiradito (Peruvian sashimi), and madai usuzukuri (cured sea bream brushed with  aji panca), showcase that fusion. The dessert menu, led by pastry chef Liz O’Connell, features dulce de leche pudding and a buttered taiyaki (fish-shaped) waffle with caramelized banana, lucuma ice cream and prickly pear sorbet.

Empellón — New York City, USA

After wide success at his various downtown restaurants, chef Alex Stupak heads uptown with his new Midtown Empellón flagship restaurant. The bold Midtown space is a two-floor, 150-seat space, with more than double the staff of all his other restaurants combined. Open daily for lunch and dinner today (3/23), Empellón will see some crossover in dishes present at other restaurants, such as the popular guacamole and seven salsas and certain tacos, but dinners will also find dishes unique to the Midtown location, like crab nachos with sea urchin queso. Lovers of Empellón margaritas will rejoice at the extensive offerings, while the featured margarita is a Mandarin orange variety infused with mezcal and chile salt. Agave library carts will make the rounds on both floors, offering rare single-batch tequila and mezcal table-side requests.

Tacos la Neta — Panama City, Panama

From leading Panamanian chef Mario Castrellón, the second branch of Tacos la Neta opens in Panama City’s San Francisco neighborhood in the lower level of what used to be the restaurant Humo, also the site of cocktail bar Amano (on upper level). The restaurant serves tortillas made from Panamanian corn, classic options include cochinita pibil, al pastor, chorizo, and seafood options of sea bass and shrimp. The drink menu features Chompiras, Chica Mágica, Agua Horchata, margaritas, micheladas, tequilas, and, of course, various mezcales.

La Grande Bogotá — Bogotá, Colombia 

La Grande Bogotá is a new seafood restaurant that takes inspiration from the flavors of Colombia, Peru, and Mexico and incorporates products from both Latin American oceans: the Atlantic and Pacific. Executive chef Nicolás Schmidt leads the team after time as executive chef at Pacífico Restaurant in Milán and sous chef at Lima Marina Club in Peru. Sea bass, lobster, octopus, and salmon are just a few of the staple sea items that headline the restaurant’s many ceviches and tiraditos.

Greenwich Steakhouse — New York City, USA.

After retiring a little over a year ago from famed steakhouse Smith & Wollensky, Ecuadorian chef Victor Chavez took some time in his home country of Ecuador. And while retirement (after 38 years with Smith & Wollensky) was attractive, the restaurant industry kept pulling him back. Upon returning to New York, Chavez decided to rent a small townhouse in the West Village for his new project, and now is debuting his own steakhouse, spread out over multiple floors. Chavez’s menu will feature classic steaks and chops including a three-pound prime dry age Porterhouse (for two) with bone marrow sauce, double-cut roast lamb chops, and a veal chop, as well as raw bar and seafood options. In season produce and honey will be sourced from the restaurant’s private farm in upstate New YorkFacebook Page

Yaku — Miami, Florida, USA

Set in the Mandarin Oriental, Yaku is a new waterfront cocktail lounge offering Peruvian-inspired punch cocktails and small bites bites from La Mar chef Diego Oka. The Yaku punch includes rum, mango puree, lime juice, and chicha morada, while guests looking for pisco can try the Amorsito punch which includes quebranta infused with ginger, lime juice, pineapple juice, ginger beer, angostura bitters and a dash of eucalyptus syrup. The tapas menu features a cebiche tostada with tuna tartare, crispy onions, chipotle aioli, avocado and mussels, or los choritos, in their juice with caucau flavors, toasted bread and crostini.

Topa Sukaldería — San Sebastián, Spain

Located in the De Gros neighborhood in San Sebastián, Spain, Tops Sukaldería is one of the country’s most exciting restaurant openings of the season. Led by veteran Mugaritz chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, the new space is a fuse between Vasco and Latin-American cooking — focusing on celebrating the periods of history that unite both Latinos and Vascos. Chef Jessica Lorigo helms this open kitchen concept, offering guests small plates such as mole, guacamole, empanadas, chicken croquetinhas and, of course, tacos are also on the menu. Dessert options range from French toast with spicy chocolate to flan to churros with orange and lime.

Arroz — Washington D.C., USA.

Chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella’s new spot Arroz lives in the Marriott Marquis Washington and is open for dinner from 3/27 onward, while lunch and weekend brunch service will begin later this spring. The menu at Arroz is inspired by both flavors of Southern Spain and Morocco. Executive chef Michael Rafidi returns to his hometown of D.C. to lead Arroz after stints at both Noma in Copenhagen and Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia. As the restaurant name means rice in Spanish, guests can expect a lot of rice dishes, and highlights include Valencian bomba rice dishes, Moorish chicken, and ribeye with patatas bravas and harissa butter.

Madre Mezcaleria — New York City, USA.

From the same team that launched the beloved Mexican restaurant El Atoradero comes a new mezcal bar and bites spot right next door in Brooklyn, Madre Mezcaleria. Offering nearly 50 mezcals, ranging from the more-affordable Del Amigo (espadín) to the higher-end Wahaka Vino de Mezcal Penca Verd. Taking cues from Mexican tradition, all mezcals will be served with chapulines and orange slices with sal de gusano. Some of the highlight cocktails include the Calle Negroni with mezcal, Rinomato, vermouth and Naked & Famous combining mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse and Aperol. Alongside the drinks, guests can enjoy light bites focused on seafood from Denisse Lina Chavez of El Atoradero, such as black-bean dip, tostadas with tinga and tuna, and an upcoming raw bar.