Long at the top of my Restaurant Bucket List, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's fancy, fresh Latin American restaurant was a "treat yo self" meal with friends from work. My "birthday week" and a friend visiting from Denver meant that money wasn't as big of a concern as it typically would be.
As soon as I walked into ABC Cocina, I was delighted by the decor. It's a place much like Tao in the sense that the furnishings add to the fancy feel - my friends even sat next to Betsy Johnson the last time they went for lunch!
Imagine our delight when we were seated at a table in a little window nook - our own private spot with plenty of natural light for picture taking ;)
Spring Pea Guacamole
Personally, I was very PEASed with this guac - I thought one of us might start licking the bowl to make sure we got every last bite.
Also, please note the beautifully orange homemade habanero hot sauce in the cute little glass bottle. We joked about slipping it into a purse on the way out until it became quite obvious there wouldn't be any left by the end of our meal.
Typically, tuna tartare is a hit with me - give me fresh, raw tuna and I'll probably be happy. Somehow, ABC Cocina got this wrong - the texture and look aside (not exactly appetizing) it seemed like our tartare was loaded with some relish-tasting-addition. Likely, these were the chilies but they must have been pickled or something. Anyway - no bueno on the tartare.
Ham & Cheese Fritters
The menu describes them as gooey and spicy, but to me they were a little bland and boring. Half of the table loved them while the other half weren't thrilled. The flavor was fine (the ham was my favorite part) but overall, these weren't anything that WOWed me.
Ground Beef & Celery Root Empanadas
I'm sad to say that these didn't blow me away either - they were tasty, sure, but no different than any other empanada I've eaten in my lifetime (which is admittedly not a very high number).
Grilled Asparagus, Jamon Iberico & Lemon
Our meal was back on track with this fresh, veggie-centric dish. Ok, veggie with a healthy side of meat. I felt so fancy reading the menu and knowing all about Jamon Iberico thanks to my cooking class in Barcelona!
The asparagus + ham combo was light and wonderful with the perfect balance of salty, citrus-y and savory.
Sauteed Mushroom Tacos
So much yes! Cashews, mole, kale, lime and sauteed mushrooms were a thrillingly wonderful combination. No cheese necessary. And corn tortillas thank GOD because serving tacos on flour tortillas is a SIN and I'm stickin' with that statement.
Griddled Fish Tacos
Deece. (I think that's the first time I've used that...) But to be frank - fish tacos for me are ruined unless they are of the Tako variety!
Beef Tenderloin "Burnt Ends" with Chimichurri
The best thing about eating out with friends in a group is ending up with things on the table that you wouldn't have necessarily ordered on your own. Such was the case with this beef tenderloin. Silly me for skipping over this - probably because the menu didn't read "THE MOST TENDER, BUTTERY MEAT IN THE WORLD" and "DROWNED IN CHIMICHURRI SAUCE WHICH, IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW, IS CRACK." Chimichurri - you're my new culinary obsession (welcome to club, which also includes dukkah and pesto).
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Sundae
I'm not the type of person to skip dessert. I have a sweet tooth, and I'm not afraid to use it. When I heard peanut butter & chocolate sundae, I was sold. But I couldn't have been prepared for what would follow.
I declare, here, on the world wide web, that this was the most phenomenal dessert I have ever stuffed my face with.
At first, I was a little confused about the strawberry sorbet and strawberry compote. But as I ate, there was no doubt in my mind that these flavors WORKED together like the damn Schuyler Sisters (had to...).
A moist, fudgey, gooey brownie piled with chocolate ice cream and strawberry sorbet. Drizzled with sweet, tangy strawberry compote and ringed with massive chunks of homemade peanut butter cups that put Reese's and Justin's to shame on the PB to Chocolate ratio.
(Sorry, I just really wanted to use moist, drizzled and chunks all in one sentence - how gross can you get?)
Our waiter, when he saw us loving on this sundae, made the remark, "It's great right? Just like a a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
I SHRIEKED as it all made sense - why the strawberry, peanut butter and chocolate were blended in perfect harmony. Why I was almost moved to tears by the empty bowl now sitting in front of us.
From what I can tell, ABC Cocina changes it's ice cream sundae regularly - and when this PB/Choco/Strawberry miracle is no longer on the menu, it will be a sad do for New York City and the world.
Please, just scroll back up for a second and look at the amount of peanut butter.
OK, I'm done. I promise.
After a conversation revolving around NYC celebrity spottings, I apparently somehow missed Jake Gyllenhaal sitting at an outside sidewalk table on our way out. COOL.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: