[Duck carnitas at Cosme; photo by Daniel Krieger for Eater]
One goal for this blog is to use only photography taken by yours truly, but that’s not going to work for Cosme, the stunning Mexican restaurant from famed Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera that opened last fall. Cosme is shoehorned into one of those mid-block spaces endemic to the Flatiron which feature a small wall of windows facing the street and a space that stretches back into a forever darkness behind. This layout works well for few places, but it works at Cosme, especially since the owners torn down a wall halfway back in the restaurant that initially separated the bar area from the dining room. It’s a dark room, to be sure, but it works for the food, which is pretty much universally agreed to be great.
I’ve had two big meals at Cosme over the past two months, the most recent in the restaurant’s private dining room with a group of eight. Even more than the restaurant itself, the PDR is a dark den, made worse by the lack of noise baffles that made our dinner an echoey cacophony. At most restaurants, this would have been a huge problem. But the Cosme team made up for it as it does, with the food.
I haven’t had a bad dish at Cosme — or even a mediocre one. Everything here shines. Our PDR dinner was divided into five courses, with two or three family-style offerings per course. Course one, seafood: scallop aguachile, smoked raw sepia, octopus cocktail. Course two, vegetables: eggplant tamal, white ayocote bean sald, burrata with salsa verde and weeds. Course three, more seafood: broiled red snapper, half lobster pibil. Then, finally, the meat, which while fish and vegetables star here, must be seen to be believed. Which is why I’m putting Krieger’s photo of the duck carnitas at the top of this post (equally worthy are the other parts of our the fourth course: cobia al pastor and the New York strip steak tacos).
The one photo I took that wasn’t terrible was the dessert course seen above (clockwise from top): husk meringue with corn mousse, sweet potato flan, and a chocolate ganache with mezcal and blood orange. As good as the rest of the meal was, this course may have been the highlight.
As our dinner wound down, someone in our crew spotted Pete Wells eating in the dining room. He hasn’t yet filed for the Times on Cosme. The immediate debate that erupted at our table about whether the place would get three stars — it couldn’t get four, right? Right? — recalled the early days of BruniBetting. And confirmed Cosme as a restaurant worthy of all the chatter it’s receiving.