NYC’s Mexican food scene has come a long way since the early 2010s. And, much like the arrival of Instagram and Beyonce’s surprise album drop, Cosme helped change the game. Enrique Olvera, the famed Mexican chef behind a global restaurant empire including spots like Atla and Pujol, opened his first upscale restaurant in Manhattan with a purpose: to expand the way New York City diners perceive Mexican food. When Cosme officially opened in 2015, people who flip out about restaurants started flipping out.
On most nights, Cosme is filled with real estate tycoons and birthday groups wearing tailored blazers and high heels. From the paint on the walls to the massive pillars holding up the ceiling, every detail inside the restaurant is jet black, and there’s a dim spotlight above every table in the large room—a clever design choice that forces you to focus on the thick menus outlining the food you’re about to receive.
Cosme’s menu lists its dishes as rows of ingredients that change with the seasons. Snack your way through a medley of grilled octopus tostadas, esquites with crab, and a potato tetela topped with caviar—and be sure to save room for the duck carnitas. This unmissable plate involves half of a juicy, roasted duck served in a cast-iron pan, paired with warm tortillas so you can make your own tender taco feast. Sharing this top-notch dish with one or two other people (and ordering a few rounds of mezcal margaritas) is the kind of power move that’ll make you want to revisit Cosme on a monthly basis. Olivera's first-ever Manhattan restaurant is still an ideal place to dress up and eat a special occasion meal in Flatiron, especially if you've ever fantasized about perfectly-prepared heirloom corn tortillas. This might not be the only hot spot serving scallop tostadas with nopal anymore—but it’s still the most exciting. Even if you have to make up a reason to celebrate something here (your cat’s half-birthday, perhaps), book a table and start planning a subtly luxurious outfit. You’ll be happy you did.
Uni Tostada, Avocado, Bone Marrow Salsa, Cucumber
Thank you, Mexico, for giving us the gift of this glorious tostada. As a gesture of gratitude, we’d like to give you Arizona and Texas back.
Stuffed Avocado, Seafood Vuelve A La Vida, Horseradish
Considering the fact that avocado toast is pretty much the national breakfast these days, it’s surprising we haven’t seen more stuffed avocado in the US. Maybe we’re just not that creative. Do it up.
Cobia Al Pastor
White fish done in the classic al pastor style and served with Cosme’s incredible housemade tortillas. This presents another great opportunity to make your own tacos and feel proud of yourself for doing so.
If there’s one thing you need to order here, it's the $98 plate of duck carnitas. The massive dish involves half of a juicy roasted duck served in a cast-iron pan and paired with warm tortillas, so you can make your own taco feast. Stop by and share it with a few friends the next time you earn a degree, have a birthday to celebrate, or decide to spend the rest of your life with someone.
Mushroom And Squash Barbacoa
Not looking to eat a duck at dinner? This mushroom and squash dish is a great option for vegetarians and ’shroom enthusiasts alike.