Enrique Olvera, the megawatt Mexico City talent behind Pujol (regularly ranked one of the 20 best restaurants in the world) made his stateside debut with Cosme, a bare-concrete Flatiron dining room slinging elegant, high-gear small plates.
Pristine, pricey and as market-fresh as anything coming out of Thomas Keller’s kitchen, Olvera’s menu is a masterpiece. Tacos make a solitary appearance, in an atypically generous portion of duck carnitas, cooked to the sinful midpoint of unctuous fat and seared flesh. But his single-corn tortillas pop up frequently, from a complimentary starter of crackly blue-corn tortillas with chile-kicked pumpkin-seed butter to dense, crispy tostadas dabbed with bone-marrow salsa and creamy tongues of uni.
Those soft corn rounds accompany the cobia al pastor, a beautifully toned-down take on the original, with slips of delicate white fish whispered with pasilla, guajillo and tart pineapple sauce. And they’re there to cradle supple, roasted hunks of lobster pipil, nestled in a heady pool of black-bean–chorizo puree.
But it’s that face-melting, savory-sweet, Instagrammed-to-death husk meringue, with its fine, ash-dusted hull giving way to a velvety, supercharged corn mousse, that cements Olvera’s status as not only one of the country’s premier haute-Mex ambassadors but also the corn whisperer of New York dining. And what damn fine dining it is.