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BEST NEW BISTRO

EMILIA

shortlisted by Lefooding

WHO
The kitchen is led by the talented Luis “Lucho” Martínez in partnership with the Edo Kobayashi Group (Rokai, Tachinomi Desu). It’s a place of complete harmony. In spite of the frenetic energy, Lucho and his team always appear unfazed. Martínez serves diners himself and always has time to make conversation with his guests. He has a tattoo on his wrist that says Emilia, the name of his daughter, who was born on the same day they signed the restaurant’s lease.

FOOD
At Emilia, you’re served a fixed menu ($1500) that varies nightly.
Gratefully submit to a culinary feast of over a dozen courses of Japanese-inspired Mexican cuisine, or vice-versa, which might include:
A smooth, warm duck dashi infused with Japanese and Mexican spices.
French beans bought that day from the market on the road to Puebla, served with pickled mussels, grated cheese, and fresh brioche.
Half a caramelized onion served over a purée (of caramelized onion), drizzled with a demi-glace (of caramelized onion), and sprinkled with garlic flowers.
Zucchini blossom stuffed with cheese from Chiapas, homemade ricotta and Mexican herbs.
Bass from Veracruz drenched in a supremely garlicky sauce, based on a traditional al ajillo recipe from chef Lucho’s native Veracruz. (“I like it because it’s easy to make, and it’s good,” he says.)
Duck aged for a week, tender enough to put any French duck to shame, served with glazed carrots and sea salt.
Beef perfection with pickled shallots, chard and sea salt.
Smoked milk ice cream with market blackberries, drizzled with binchotan oil.

DRINKS
The awe-inspiring and original drink tasting flight is well worth the price ($1200), with everything from a Japanese rice lager from Culiacán, to an Alsatian Riesling, to a crisp Italian Grechetto, to a bone dry Arginaño white from the Basque region, to a Submission cabernet from Napa, to various Mexican reds, to citrusy Daiginjo sakes produced in Mexico using Japanese rice, to a Jura single malt Scotch whiskey, to an A. Margaine Champagne. Et cetera.

DECOR
The entirely open kitchen at the center of everything is the focus, and the lighting is sufficient for appreciating the various actors on their stage. With about thirty covers in the surrounding dining room and another twenty arranged around the kitchen’s marble countertop, it’s a small space that feels paradoxically large.

NOISE
Eclectic, from house to chill electronic to overblown ‘80s hits (the Go-Go’s, etc.). The impression (more likely the reality) is that you’re at a house party where old friends are arguing amicably over the playlist.

SEATING
Room for about thirty at the white marble slab tables. Although you’ll want to be among those on comfortable stools at the marble bar if possible, to chat with the chefs and see if you can figure out some of their magic tricks.

VIBE
Surprisingly cool and laid-back for what’s now one of the best restaurants in town. Friends stopping by, young and old, often heavily tattooed. Familiar conversations across the bar with Lucho or the other chefs. Beers to start, drunk directly out of the bottle. Simple appreciation for extraordinary food, with none of the typical pretension.

RESTROOMS
Going to the restroom here is a bit like leaving your seat during the blockbuster of the year, but if you must, there’s a unisex one near the front door, and it couldn’t be cleaner.

SERVICE
15% was included at booking.

WOULD RECOMMEND
¡Si ¡Si ¡Si ¡Si Draw your exclamation points however you like: this place deserves all the exclamations. Not to be missed. Top of the list!

WHO
The kitchen is led by the talented Luis “Lucho” Martínez in partnership with the Edo Kobayashi Group (Rokai, Tachinomi Desu). It’s a place of complete harmony. In spite of the frenetic energy, Lucho and his team always appear unfazed. Martínez serves diners himself and always has time to make conversation with his guests. He has a tattoo on his wrist that says Emilia, the name of his daughter, who was born on the same day they signed the restaurant’s lease.

FOOD
At Emilia, you’re served a fixed menu ($1500) that varies nightly.
Gratefully submit to a culinary feast of over a dozen courses of Japanese-inspired Mexican cuisine, or vice-versa, which might include:
A smooth, warm duck dashi infused with Japanese and Mexican spices.
French beans bought that day from the market on the road to Puebla, served with pickled mussels, grated cheese, and fresh brioche.
Half a caramelized onion served over a purée (of caramelized onion), drizzled with a demi-glace (of caramelized onion), and sprinkled with garlic flowers.
Zucchini blossom stuffed with cheese from Chiapas, homemade ricotta and Mexican herbs.
Bass from Veracruz drenched in a supremely garlicky sauce, based on a traditional al ajillo recipe from chef Lucho’s native Veracruz. (“I like it because it’s easy to make, and it’s good,” he says.)
Duck aged for a week, tender enough to put any French duck to shame, served with glazed carrots and sea salt.
Beef perfection with pickled shallots, chard and sea salt.
Smoked milk ice cream with market blackberries, drizzled with binchotan oil.

DRINKS
The awe-inspiring and original drink tasting flight is well worth the price ($1200), with everything from a Japanese rice lager from Culiacán, to an Alsatian Riesling, to a crisp Italian Grechetto, to a bone dry Arginaño white from the Basque region, to a Submission cabernet from Napa, to various Mexican reds, to citrusy Daiginjo sakes produced in Mexico using Japanese rice, to a Jura single malt Scotch whiskey, to an A. Margaine Champagne. Et cetera.

DECOR
The entirely open kitchen at the center of everything is the focus, and the lighting is sufficient for appreciating the various actors on their stage. With about thirty covers in the surrounding dining room and another twenty arranged around the kitchen’s marble countertop, it’s a small space that feels paradoxically large.

NOISE
Eclectic, from house to chill electronic to overblown ‘80s hits (the Go-Go’s, etc.). The impression (more likely the reality) is that you’re at a house party where old friends are arguing amicably over the playlist.

SEATING
Room for about thirty at the white marble slab tables. Although you’ll want to be among those on comfortable stools at the marble bar if possible, to chat with the chefs and see if you can figure out some of their magic tricks.

VIBE
Surprisingly cool and laid-back for what’s now one of the best restaurants in town. Friends stopping by, young and old, often heavily tattooed. Familiar conversations across the bar with Lucho or the other chefs. Beers to start, drunk directly out of the bottle. Simple appreciation for extraordinary food, with none of the typical pretension.

RESTROOMS
Going to the restroom here is a bit like leaving your seat during the blockbuster of the year, but if you must, there’s a unisex one near the front door, and it couldn’t be cleaner.

SERVICE
15% was included at booking.

WOULD RECOMMEND
¡Si ¡Si ¡Si ¡Si Draw your exclamation points however you like: this place deserves all the exclamations. Not to be missed. Top of the list!

CHEF

Luis “Lucho” Martínez

OPENING HOURS

Monday to Tuesday 6:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday 6:45 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Closed Sundays

RESERVATIONS

Absolutely necessary, via their website, pay in advance and get there early (7:15ish) if possible for a seat at the open kitchen and a chance to watch the night’s cooking action unfold

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