A New Restaurant in NYC – Yuco

You have to give kudos to a restaurant that takes differentiation seriously.  Yuco, a “haute cuisine” Mexican restaurant opened in the heart of the Village. It’s Yucatan territory, so if you’re expecting tableside guacamole, this is not your place.  Instead it’s fancy food.  Actually, fancy Mexican food.  Here’s our review.


There’s a time and a place for casual Mexican, which in our book, can be all the time.  However if you’re looking for table side guacamole and massive goblets of margaritas, Yuco is not your spot.  This is a fine dining experience, where there  guacamole is not even on the menu.  Instead, it’s delicate farm fresh ingredients like zucchini flowers, and meats that take hours to prep.

The Scene

This restaurant does not reflect the NYU/college casual vibe of the surrounding neighborhood.  You arrive into a modern, minimalist industrial room, where the bar dominates the front area.  This is their casual spot, that has a menu of tacos and small bites.  On nights when  you’re looking for a quiet drink and solid cocktails, it’s an easy place to drop in.  The dining room though, is like a whole different experience, as it’s clearly fine dining.  Artful glassware, high end plates and silverware, and white table clothes let you know that you’re in for a more refined experience.

The Food

Overall, the nutshell is the food at Yuco is unique and distinct.  They take great care to create food and beverage that you probably have never tried.  The bar area has a casual menu of tacos and pickled crudite.  The tacos are actually very good, and prepared in such a way that you don’t have a burrito belly afterwards.  The zucchini blossom tacos are especially a standout, which is an ingredient that shines throughout the regular menu.  The crudite however is an acquired taste.  If you like pickled vegetables, it’s an interesting dish with the smokey tomato based dip.  It’s something that you won’t forget, though it’s not for everyone.  In fact, from the first drink, they let you know that this is going to be a different Mexican food experience.

The Dining Room

The dining room experience is for foodies.  The menu is diverse and intricate; portions are smaller because they are meant to be part of a tasting menu.  You can go prix fixe with 4 courses from the a la carte, or we would suggest going with the short form tasting menu.  Or even better, create  your own.  There is ample selection of Mexican food on the menu, but each dish is combination of distinct flavors.  We really like the elote soup and lobster and rojas.  You’re here to have a different Mexican food experience, and expand your horizons beyond traditional enchiladas.  (Which are nowhere to be found on the menu as they aren’t Yucatan cuisine.)  Instead, they shine with ceviche, pork belly, braised oxtail en mole and the standout Waygu Ribeye steak.

The Beverage 

They have more than 100 different agave-based spirits on the menu, but they go far beyond margaritas.  The beverage list has balance among whiskey, rum and gin cocktails.  Yuco’s game is also strong in the Pisco department.  Along with the theme of unique, their Pisco is one that is difficult to get your hands on.  They may even be the only ones in the U.S. to import this particular brand in.  If you’re into different cocktails, it’s an interesting beverage experience.

The Service 

The team shines in this area, and has hired alums from some of the top fine dining Mexican food establishments like Cosme.  People here are passionate about what they do, and also have the knowledge and skill to back it up.  They also make a point to remember repeat clients.  While it’s a fine dining experience in the restaurant, there is a genuine warmth to make it a neighborhood spot.

Overall:   7/10

Yuco is a place you are happy you tried once. Whether you return depends on if the unique angle to the food resonates with you. The bar is a repeat spot though we would suggest they increase more approachable food options and bites.

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