Iron Cheffers José Garces, Aarón Sánchez and Seamus Mullen
Latin American cuisine in NYC is ambitious as ever, and now the sometimes-marginalized chefs, mixologists and restaurateurs are getting their deserved close-up. On Friday evening, many of the city’s top talents gathered for a blowout party at Astor Center to kickoff the inaugural Gourmet Latino Festival. And if you’re ever curious what 15-plus mezcal, pisco and reposado cocktails will do to a hungry crowd, check these photos. Dancing! Plus, Guiseppe Gonzalez served his pineapple margarita in a half pineapple. Summer is here.
The city’s heavy-hitters like Julian Medina (Toloache), Sue Torres (Sueños) and Aarón Sánchez (Centrico) served plates ranging from rustic spins (tuna belly and beer-battered mahi mahi tacos) to headier territories—rioja-braised goat leg and short ribs with foie gras infused polenta where favorites. Other participants included Joaquin Simo (Death & Co.), Patricio Sandoval (Mercadito), Junior Merino (Rayuela) and Philadelphia’s supremely talented Jose Garces, who tells us his NYC debut will be happening “sooner than later.” By the looks of this event, he’s got some stiff competition. —Matt Rodbard