#1 Cosme, New York from America’s 50 Best Mexican Restaurants

America’s 50 Best Mexican Restaurants

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#1 Cosme, New York

It could be argued that Cosme, the hit Gramercy Park establishment opened late 2014 by Enrique Olvera, chef–proprietor of Mexico City's top-rated Pujol, is not so much the best Mexican restaurant in America as it is the best restaurant that's Mexican. This warm but sparsely furnished hotspot, that is, is nobody's idea of a "Mexican restaurant." There are no concessions to Yankee expectations. Words like tostada, aguachile, and barbacoa do appear on the menu, but they don't connect with food that looks like what they suggest. If you're in the mood for fajitas and combination plates, look elsewhere (including at some of the other places on this list). The fare at Cosme, based on locally sourced ingredients as well as imports from Mexico, is just good food imbued with unmistakably Mexican flavors, whatever it might be made from and however it might look. The constantly evolving menu offers unexpected delights like mussel tostadas with pig's feet and Mexican cucumber, cobia (ling) instead of pork al pastor, esquites (usually a sautéed corn street snack) made with spelt and castelrosso radicchio, and crispy octopus with potatoes pickled in hazelnut mole. And on no account miss the duck carnitas, a menu staple, rich and crisp and meltingly tender, and large enough for three or four to share. Don't miss the extensive mezcal selection, either; there's plenty of tequila here, but a shot of something like the Del Maguey Minero or Fidencio Tobalá, served in a glass rimmed with worm salt, with an orange slice on the side, will make you forget about that margarita.