The interior, which boasts an open kitchen, was as beautiful as the exterior. It’s large, airy, and filled with garden-facing windows. The color scheme was perfection: white-washed wood (oak recycled from the hundreds of trees that were sadly toppled during Hurricane Sandy) accented with oxidized copper and steel. I was super excited to see that in honor of the exhibition executive chef Julian Alonzo, an award-winning French Culinary Institute grad, had crafted a prixe fix three-course menu based on Frida’s actual Mexican recipes. Even better, it kept to the theme of the restaurant and used farm-fresh New York ingredients.
For a starter, I ordered the sopa de frijol (“black bean soup”) which was topped with a spicy crème fraîche and crispy pig’s ears. It was delicious (I’m a huge fan of soup), tangy with lime and also slightly smokey. It was my first time trying pig ears and though they tasted a lot like bacon in flavor, the texture was a bit too chewy for me to enjoy. David had the brightly colored scallop ceviche with aji amarillo, lime, and a pineapple-jalapeño sorbet, which he loved (he’s a big fan of raw fish).
We ended up splitting/sharing entrées–mostly because I wanted to try them both, of course! I make huevos rancheros a lot at home, and this one (called a “modern take”) didn’t disappoint taste-wise, though the portion was very small. The posole (literally “hominy,” or dried maize kernels that are made into a stew), here with pork, radish, and guajillo chil, was interesting but a little greasy for my taste (I’m not the biggest fan of fatty pork for this reason). The plating was gorgeous on both, modern, clean, and a nice showcase for the great ingredients.
Dessert was the best course by far–churros with cajete (caramel) and whipped cream and a tres leches cake tres leches cake made with rompope (a Spanish eggnog) and served with a mango sorbet. The edible flowers were the perfect last touch and kept me smiling as we exited back out through the garden. Overall, the restaurant was really great. Everyone was so friendly and sweet (we’d actually just missed the time cutoff for ordering from the prix fixe menu and they happily accommodated us) and the views both inside and out were stunning. If you’re ever in the area, consider making a trip in–it’s open to the general public, so no admission ticket to the Garden is required. I actually would love to go back to try the normal menu!