New & Noteworthy: 2015 Openings
So many new and excellent places have opened in La Gran Tenochtitlán recently that even I can’t keep up with them. I never recommend a place until it is established; but I am familiar with the following newcomers and all are in the very good to excellent category. Happy holidays!
Huset is the superb venue for talented and amiable chef Maycoll Calderon, formerly of J&G Grill. It quickly became the hot spot amongst D.F. trendies, after opening in August; word spreading by social media and old-fashioned word of mouth. A table in Huset’s lovely restored early 20th century patio, lit by a million small bulbs like Montmartre’s Moulin de la Galette, has already become difficult to procure – reserve well in advance. Smoke pervades almost every dish on the menu – Calderon’s technique is to grill then sauce. He explains that “…we have a wood oven, use seasonal ingredients; it’s fun, simple and delicious. And it’s my restaurant!”
Colima 256, near Insurgentes Roma
Tel. 5511 6767 – reservations essential
Open Tuesday, Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 12 a.m., Thursday, - Saturday until 2 a.m., Sunday until 8 p.m.
La Docena is the D.F. branch of the Tapatio hotspot; young chef Tomás Bermudez is at the helm. The raw bar is one of the best in the city – ‘docena’ refers to oysters, flown in daily from the Pacific coast. The kitchen, whose concept is somewhere between New Orleans and Baja offers simple grilled fare – the oysters a las brasas are augmented with shallot butter, Rockefeller, with the usual heap of ingredients. Burgers and po' boys are artfully prepared. Ambience is cool and relaxed. It’s a party and you’re invited.
La Docena Oyster Bar & Grill
Álvaro Obregón 31, at Frontera, Roma
Open daily 1:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Fonda Fina’s publicity tells us that “…we are an homage and a throwback to the origins of our home cooking.” This smartly appointed wood and tile spot, done in the obligatory retro style, nods knowingly at its down home neighbors, but the emphasis lies more on the fina than the fonda. That’s because the menu was designed by esteemed chef Jorge Vallejo of Polanco’s tony Quintonil. But the food is honest and very Mexican and very good.
Medellín 79, Roma Tel. 5208-3925 / 5533-9002 Open Monday – Saturday 1 – 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fonda Mayora is the much-anticipated groovy Condesa venue for chef Gerardo Vazquez Lugo (of Nicos fame) to cook honest, down home, fonda food. It almost goes without saying that ingredients are the best, local, organic and corn is utilized to feature its subtle flavor. Breakfast is particularly recommended. This is a beautiful homage to the simple Mexican kitchen and a welcome, unpretentious addition to the fold.
Campeche 322, Condesa Open daily, 8-10
Carlota opened it’s doors in mid-2015 and has become one of the most sophisticated kitchens in the city. Located in the eponymous hotel north of the Reforma, it is housed in a sleek, modern space but remains cheery, light and casual. Chef Joaquín Cardoso is Mexican of Spanish heritage. Trained in France and a graduate of Pujol’s illustrious kitchen, he brings a subtle fusion of those culinary traditions to the table. Sofía Cortina, pastry chef, is an iconoclast; her variations on tradition are like a circus spectacle – and they taste good too.
Hotel Restaurante Carlota
Río Amazonas 73, Colonia Cuauhtémoc Telephone (55) 5511-6300 Open Sunday-Wednesday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Thursday to Saturday until 1 a.m.