The Don of contemporary Mexican cuisine
Claim to fame: A perfectly executed menu made with authentic Mexican insight
Reason to go: The chef’s choice taco omakase menu
To look out for: Olvera’s ever-evolving, legendary mole madre and his signature dish of smoky baby corn with Chicatana ant, coffee, and chile costeño mayonnaise
Opening the New York-outpost Cosme and exploring uncharted territories made Chef Enrique Olvera realize something: it was time to reinvent his flagship restaurant, Pujol. He started by relocating; same old Polanco neighborhood, totally new digs. A dream house with much more space, top-notch interior design with clear Japanese influences that denote Olvera’s fondness for the land of the rising sun, a suave terrace for after-dinner drinks, a kitchen garden, a barbacoa hole in the ground where meat is slow-cooked daily, and a much more relaxed atmosphere. Now Pujol is noisier, merrier (the music is curated by Café Tacuba’s Emmanuel Del Real), and constantly at full capacity.
And speaking of Japanese influences, the greatest upgrade to Pujol 2.0 might well be the taco omakase bar where diners are offered a true and hitherto unseen taco extravaganza: kampachi with seaweed and avocado; duck “al pastor”; eggplant with hoja santa and chickpea, to name but a few of the eight or nine creations that appear on the chef’s choice menu before dessert arrives. Each taco is paired with a tequila- or mezcal-based cocktail, or a simple, canned Mexican beer. This laid back experience doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to detail, au contraire, amigo, the service, food execution and presentations are flawless. Actually, after 18 years in business, Pujol is living its best moment, pursuing innovation without the rush of a newcomer, from a more mature, fun, and intelligent perspective.
Fact: you’re not allowed to leave before you have your churros and a postprandial carajillo cocktail on the verdant terrace.