Nizuc Resort & Spa
Nizuc Resort & Spa is a fairly young resort to Cancun. Having only opened a year and a half ago, Nizuc is still building a reputation for itself on an international stage. Much of its clientele are affluent Cancun locals who congregate for a culinary journey right in their own backyards, though the name Nizuc is quickly garnering attention among American, British, Dutch, and Russian tourists.
Nizuc offers guests six restaurants: Cafe del la Playa, Ni, Terranostra, Indochine, Ramona, and La Punta Grill, the last five of which were showcased and introduced dishes off their new menu at the Nizuc Black Carpet Event held at the resort’s convention center in July.
Each restaurant is impressive in its own right, and collectively all of the restaurants are under the guidance of a very diverse, international and strong set of chefs who produce works of art that exhibit their passion and skills.
The Black Carpet Event was an event organized not only to introduce a tasting of different dishes from the different restaurants and chefs, but to thank the local community for their loyalty and patronage since the resort's launch. Next year, management said it hopes to make the Black Carpet event international.
Dinner was a seven-course affair complete with a local orchestra that played music throughout the night. Each dish was paired with a drink and highlighted a particular restaurant and its chef by incorporating the chef's philosophy into the prepared dish. Each chef was featured in a video that explained (in Spanish) his journey as a chef, the concept behind each chosen dish, and showcased the steps taken to prepare the dish. It added an extra element to the night to watch as the chef prepared the dish in the video, and it made the experience a much fuller, more engaging, and more compelling one.
The meal was executed perfectly, and I enjoyed watching the wait staff's synchronized movements each time they presented the dishes to my table.
The night started off with a duck foie gras dish by executive chef Vincent Wallez that was served with a craft beer. I'm not much of a beer drinker, and I can't recall the last time I had foie gras, but this particular pairing was an interesting start to the night. The foie gras was served with a fig chutney, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the dish; however, foie gras isn't something that sends my taste buds soaring and has me oozing with joy from every bite.
I was absolutely giddy over the second meal: a lobster ceviche prepared by chef Alan Banda of the resort's ni restaurant, and it was served with Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial. I couldn't concentrate on anything other than how light and beautiful the lobster was, and I prayed that this dish would never end. I had picked my favorite course of the night, and we still had five more to go.
Next up was a squid, shrimp and crab risotto by Daniele Tonin of the resort's Italian eatery, Terra Nostra, served with Nizuc's very own white wine. One thing I've tried countless times but have never taken a taste to is crab; yet this risotto was beautiful, and the crab didn't over power the flavors of the dish for me.
When the fourth dish made its way on to the table, one of the other diners could hardly contain himself. "Black cod!" he said in awe. "If you've never had black cod, then your life is about to change." Chef Sergio Ichikawa of Indochine had prepared a black cod dish that was paired with Johnnie Walker Gold Label, which I easily passed on to another diner. Too much mixing would leave me with a hangover that I didn't want to deal with during my three days in Mexico. Upon the first bite, the entire table fell silent, or maybe I just shot off into my own world. The black cod melted in my mouth like butter, and it was cooked beautifully and had this soft, silkiness to it I've never come across from eating fish. I found myself getting anxious: How could something be better than that lobster I had earlier? But no, the black cod had quickly taken the number one spot for my favorite meal thus far.
Bladimir Garcia of Ramona restaurant prepared the fifth meal of the evening, which was a turkey dish served with mole and paired with Mezcal Bruxo. I've tried mole plenty of times before, and though many at the table seemed to like the dish, there were just as many who seemed that they could easily rule this out among their favorites of the night. I thought the dish was somewhat bland and lacked that little extra kick that really make dishes stand out.
The last dish of the night was preprared by Efrain Mis of La Punta Grill, who served what once again became a contestant for the best dish of the night. Mis prepared a rack of veal that was paired with another Nizuc wine, and it was a match made in heaven. The veal was tender and succulent, and the wine made for a smooth counterpart to such a perfect dish.
By the time dessert arrived, I wasn't sure that I could eat anything more, but dessert is something I can never (and will never) pass on. Pastry chef Rodrigo Alcocer prepared a light and creamy mascarpone dessert with raspberries, which served as perfect tipping point to a highly indulgent meal.
It's safe to say that the The Black Carpet Event most certainly put Nizuc on the map.