Walking into Cosme, the energy of the room is almost palpable. The drinks are poured, the food is served, and the big appetites that have arrived are satiated. As I sit at table in the back my eyes scan over the scene unfolding before me. There’s a group of business men seated beside me, still in their suits and ties. To my right sits Fabian Von Hauske, the pastry chef of Contra, enjoying a beautiful vintage. The bar is flooded with NYC socialites, wearing clothes better suited for a dim lit dance club being infiltrated by a smoke machine. There are few places that can achieve this sort of melting pot of customers, but here at Cosme the food is the main attraction and all are welcome.
I start out my meal with the sliced raw Hamachi ($19). Each bite is like a warm ocean wave gently caressing my taste buds. The Hamachi is fresh and delicate, each slice is only enhanced by the heat from the fermented serranos, while the fish sauce and black limes add notes of citrus and umami. Next up is the Uni tostadas($17). Fried and crispy, the tostada is the perfect vehicle for the crowning jewel of this dish, the luxurious uni. The duck carnitas($58) are reason alone to pay Chef Olvera a visit. The skin is sweet, smoky, and crispy, while the meat inside is so tender it dissolves the moment it hits my tongue, releasing its fatty juices. When the waiter comes over and asks about the meal, I simply take his hand and thank him for this lovely dish. Although he is not the chef, he is one of many parts that makes this experience come to fruition.
Of course I end my meal with the revered Husk meringue ($14). I don’t believe there is another dish in the last few months that has been talked about as much as this. The outside is like the shell of a pavlova, slightly sweet and salty, created by the whipping of egg whites, sugar, and pulverized corn husk powder. The inside is a barely sweetened fresh cream that gently flows from the shell it is encased in. Yes, the husk meringue is everything it’s chalked up to be. It is what every dessert strives to be, yet doesn’t always quite make it. In it’s simplest form, it is the perfect ending to what is a perfect meal.