The opening of Cosme, chef Enrique Olvera's first restaurant outside of Mexico, signaled a renaissance in Mexican cuisine not only in the United States but in New York City as well, where Mexican food has earned a reputation for being inferior compared to the rest of the nation.  Chefs and food critics sang praises of Mr. Olvera's unique interpretation of Mexican food, but the reception for Cosme by foodies has been surprisingly muted.  Is it because it's Mexican food?  Or is it because the food can be a bit too cerebral?  Or is it because it's another out-of-town chef trying to conquer the Big Apple?  Whatever the reason, Cosme is worth visiting, because Mr. Olvera is doing God's work there.  The food may not always hit the mark, but when it does, it is just fantastic.

Chefs Owen Clark, Philip Krajeck and Matthew Rudofker preparing dessert during the Momofuku Ssam Bar Late Night Dinner Series

For the lastest incarnation of the Late Night Dinner Series, Momofuku Ssam Bar has continued its travels down South and invited Nashville-based Rolf and Daughters to grace its kitchens last night.

A large wooden door dominates the otherwise nondescript façade.  Inside, a sleek wraparound counter sits prominently in the center of the narrow dining space, while a brick wall abuts the counter.  The interior is minimally adorned, allowing the diner's focus to concentrate the chefs preparing the food behind the counter.  Just out of sight, another chef prepares the warm dishes, while a portly, tall and bearded gentleman prepared cocktails for the diners.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, I was finally able to get a seat at the uber-popular Sushi Nakazawa last week; the restaurant partnered with Dassai Sake that evening for a special omakase dinner, and I was fortunate enough to get a reservation.  Since the restaurant opened last summer, it has been the hottest ticket in town, and the reviews it has received have been nothing less than glowing (Michelin’s snob notwithstanding).

The thing I admire most about Danny Bowien is his willingness to take risks, to move beyond expectations and to surprise.  His ingenious and playful interpretations of Chinese cuisine at Mission Chinese Food were well-received on both coasts.  Seeking new worlds to conquer, he took on Mexican food with Mission Cantina, to similar acclaim.  Now, by offering breakfast at Mission Cantina, he has taken on a new challenge: Vietnamese cuisine.

Clockwise, from upper left: Kitchen with surrounding counter; bar for waiting patrons only; lounge for coffee and after-dinner cocktails

After weeks of secrecy and suspense, the newest home of David Chang's Momofuku Ko opened its doors this past weekend for a trio of Friends and Family dinners, in preparation for its grand opening sometime next month.

The Push Project has allowed Alex Stupak to collaborate with some of the best chefs in the country and in the world, resulting in some of the most innovative and exciting dining experiences the city has experienced in some time.  For its fifth incarnation, Mr. Stupak invited none other than the dean of traditional Mexican cuisine in the United States: Rick Bayless.

Cote de bouef with béarnaise sauce

I really wanted to hate Dirty French.  I did.

When it was announced earlier this year that Major Food Group was opening Dirty French in the lobby of the Ludlow Hotel, I greeted the news with a certain sense of ennui.

Empellon al Pastor is the newest addition to the burgeoning culinary empire of chef Alex Stupak, and the most bizarre: a dive bar masquerading as a taqueria.  Indeed, there is more to this restaurant than meets the eye: as soon as you enter the premises, you feel as if you've been thrust into a whole other world -- part seedy pub, part hellish vision by some artist high on peyote -- and it can be intimidating at times.

Marta is the newest venture from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG).  Ensconced in the lobby of the Martha Washington Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, Marta specializes in Roman-style pizzas; unlike Neapolitan-style pizzas, the crust of Roman pizzas tends to be thin and crisp.   As a result, the outer crust practically shatters when bitten into, while the inner pie crust is chewy and tender.