The place: Gemma at Bowery Hotel
The setting: There’s enough of a
The place: Toloache 82
The space: Any customers expecting to see sombreros, huipils, and mariachis at the UES branch of owner/chef Julian Medina’s Toloache may be forgiven a double take. This is modern Mexican chic, blending Ferrari design and French flair with 150 types of tequilas behind the bar. Weather permitting, walk past the ceviche bar, through the two dining rooms hung with hand-painted tiles and tin lanterns, into the remarkably tranquilo outdoor back patio.
The ingredients: Toloache sources its most famous ingredients from Mexico’s culinary heartland of Oaxaca, including Guajillo, Mulato, and Pasilla chiles; huitlacoche mushrooms (the Mexican truffle); and even grasshoppers.
The special: Whatever the entrée, make sure to start with the huitlacoche quesadilla and the mezcalita de piña, a potent, smoky cocktail rimmed with chile-powder and flavored with cilantro and agave.
The wink: Ask for a glass of the off-the-menu Grand Mayan tequila. Its mahogany color and sweet, nutty flavor come from aging three years in French barrels.
166 East 82nd St., 212-861-4505, toloachenyc.com
(Photo: courtesy of Toloache 82)