ABC Cocina – A Fabulous Tapas Treat

I have no idea why it took me so long to eat at ABC Cocina.

I mean, I LOVE ABC Kitchen. I love most Jean Georges restaurants.

But I do HATE having to play reservation roulette. So, maybe that’s why it took literally years for a normal brunch time slot to pop up on Open Table.

Whatever, it was worth it.

Expensive and worth it.

20150104_134002 The atmosphere makes Cocina the cooler, downtown sister to ABC Kitchen. This dining room has seashells on the walls, agate lighting fixtures, antique mismatched plates, and black ceramic coffee mugs. It’s incredibly cool – timeless and trendy at the same time. We saw families with kids here, but the menu and environment seems best suited to groups going out for brunch or catching up with a friend who doesn’t mind a bit of noise over dinner. 
20150104_134450 Sherry Mary

One FABULOUS Bloody Mary! Spicy, bright, savory, and with a wonderful, nutty hint of sherry. Enough to relax me but not enough to get me buzzed. I am still dreaming of it and the habanero Tabasco sauce in the background.  20150104_134808 Shaved brBrussels sprouts salad with Manchego and marcona almonds.

A nice, if unmemorable version. Crisp, fresh sprouts with salty almonds and a shower of soft, tangy cheese. The dressing is bright but not sour, and it’s a good salad. I would get a different one next time, though, just because this wasn’t a standout.  20150104_135150 Guacamole with grapefruit and pumpkin seeds

Delicious. It’s just really well made guac – limey, salty, buttery, with quite a nice kick of heat. They load up the cilantro, which I LOVE, and serve it with a very fruity salsa for a nice, sweet counterpart to the savory guac. The tortilla chips are fresh, thick, hot, and properly salty. I HOUSED this and I ain’t sorry.

20150104_140439 Peekytoe crab fritters with chipotle mayo

STANDOUT! INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, AND AWESOME-LICIOUS. This is what fish and chips WISHES it was. Tiny crispy spheres filled with soft, sweet crab that’s so fresh that you actually feel, for a moment, like you are on a Seattle pier in the middle of summer instead of in the Flatiron district in a snow flurry. The chipotle dip is creamy with enough heat to bring out the crab’s sweet taste. I could have eaten 3 orders of these and not have missed anything else on the table. Everything was delicious, this dish was just THAT good. Don’t miss it – though the gooey cheese and ham fritters are also sensational.
20150104_140834 Beef empanadas
One of the few excellent versions of “tarted up” empanadas out there. Any empanadas that don’t come straight from a street fair in all of their fluorescent orange glory run the risk of tasting land and insipid. These are anything but. A thick pastry shell encases spiced beef and celery  root, rich with cumin and coriander. It’s served with a zesty salsa that compliments the tender celery root without overpowering it. These are like Latin American sliders and they are just lovely!
20150104_141753 Chipotle chicken tacos

Different from what I was expecting and in a great way! Juicy nuggets of chicken in a thin, crisp batter. It’s served with a creamy chipotle sauce, wrapped in a pleasantly lumpy homemade tortilla. The spring tendrils atop are overtly grassy, but in a wonderful way – they are fresh and verdant against the fried chicken.

Skip the desserts (they really can’t stand up to the ones at ABC Kitchen), but get a cocktail and bring your appetite. Meals here are quite pricey, but the service is great, the atmosphere is swingin’, and the food is just fabulous.

ABC, it’s good to be back!