For something that doesn’t actually produce sound waves, the hype surrounding Cosme (35 East 21st Street, 212-913-9659), acclaimed Mexican chef Enrique Olvera’s first restaurant in the United States, has been deafening. Cosme has answered to the frenzy with a firm abutment, walling out tardy reservation holders, the beggars, and the unannounced. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant is booked through 2014, and those who have attempted to get their food in the door as walk-ins at odd hours have also been turned away.
If, by some bright miracle, you happen to walk by late-night and are able to snag one of the seats at the bar, the dessert menu has some of the most intriguing items on offer. Of the six desserts ($12) and sorbets ($9), the “husk” dessert, a gray meringue fractured and filled with corn mousse, gets the title of most Instagrammable. There are other worthy choices, like a brioche with a fermented persimmon marmalade and ricotta salata, and a sweet-potato flan.
For the nixtamalized parsnip dessert, the root vegetable has been cooked in an alkaline solution, halved, and shellacked with a crust like you’d find on crème brûlée. An orb of amaranth ice cream is set on a tuffet of banana yogurt, which is refreshingly sour, with subtle banana shimmying in the background. If all elements are combined in a bite, the honeyed sweetness of the root, the dairy, and the ancient grain, grassy and bitter, together taste of the yogurt parfaits sold at corner stands in Mexico City in the early morning — a transportive spoonful of Mexican breakfast grabbed on the way to work, only for those who have had the experience.
Scarlett Lindeman is a Brooklyn-based writer, covering the city’s best taquerias, fondas, and cantinas. She writes the ¡Oye! Comida column for Fork in the Road.