An Explosion of Flavors at ABC Cocina in Manhattan

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, you magnificent bastard. Dan Kluger and Ian Coogan, you conniving conspirators. The flavors coming out of the kitchen at ABC Cocina are astonishing. If you thought fusion was a muddled mess of techniques and traditions, this restaurant will change your mind.

We started with a couple of cocktails — a beautiful caipirinha and gin with coconut water, no photos — and these spicy little fried chickpeas.


Then the hits just started coming.

Raw shaved fluke with green chili dressing and crunchy rice:lj061113cocina03

Spicy! The textures were so playful: firm, fresh fish; crunchy rice; leafy microgreens and herbs. Love.

Florida white shrimp in ‘agua diablo,’ banans and almonds:lj061113cocina04

Hands down the winner of the night. Bananas?! Why yes! With spicy shrimp and crunchy almonds, yes! It’s like the way you’d use plantains in a Carribean dish. And that sauce! Like a cross between a red curry and hot sauce. Insane.

The restaurant is big and cool with moody lighting. lj061113cocina01

Gooey spicy ham and cheese fritters:  lj061113cocina12 lj061113cocina13

All of the above: gooey, spicy. But also crunchy and addictive.

Spring pea empanada with spicy yogurt:lj061113cocina14

Very spring pea-y. The pastry was flaky and light.

Wood-grilled asparagus with pickled spring onions and marcona almonds:


Beautiful. Just gorgeous. Tender asparagus, kissed by wood.

Crispy fish tacos with aoili and cabbage-chili pickle:lj061113cocina16

Just perfect. Flaky, crunchy fish; bright cabbage; creamy mayo. Yum.

Maitake mushrooms with goat cheese and Fresno pepper vinaigrette:


So meaty and rich. A wonderful end to the meal.

And this. This insane salty, creamy, caramelly flan with orange essence and a little tiny cake underneath. Really?lj061113cocina19



The 411 on ABC Cocina: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s newest presents seasonal, local ingredients with a Latin twist in a sleek, cool room at ABC Kitchen & Home. The chefs Dan Kluger and Ian Coogan are masterful. 38 East 19th St., New York, NY 10003. 212-677-2233,

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