The newest venture from Jean George opened this week and the man himself was in the house when I walked in opening night. I was happy to see they kept the bare stone walls, ample window seating and communal table from Pipa and added in a gorgeous raw bar in back. The bartender was phenomenal at explaining the dishes from the menu, all of which use fresh seasonal ingredients like ABC Kitchen, but with a spicy Latin flair. I ordered a glass of wine and started off with the Fluke with Green Chili Dressing, Rice and Herbs.
Wow- this was like Spring in a bowl. I loved the bright acidic chili dressing and the fun little pop each bite created from the crispy rice. It was quite a whimsical and fun little dish. Between appetizer and entree a bowl of toasted chickpeas arrived, still warm from the oven and dusted with flurry of spices and then a tray of bread that had just the prefect amount of chew with a phenomenal olive oil for dipping (olive oil so wonderful I must buy a bottle when I find out what kind it is).
There were about five different tacos listed on the menu and all sounded fantastic I finally settled on the Savory Glazed Short Rib Taco with Habanero Relish and Frizzled Onions.
The Short Rib was thick and meaty, not shredded like you may imagine, with round crisp onions. I loved the combo of spicy relish with the sweet, soft corn tortilla. The flavors were absolutely wonderful but what made it outstanding was the house Habanero Hot Sauce...I thought this was going to make smoke come out of my ears but it was incredibly balanced. The bartender told me they put a little elder flower inside with the pepper. I'm pretty sure I could put this on everything I eat from now on.
I was so in love with ABC Cocina I almost stayed for the Salted Caramel flan but I decided to listen to my stomach (which was incredibly full) and leave that for another visit. Service, atmosphere, food and price...yes to all ABC Cocina.