Oxomoco is a beautiful Mexican restaurant in Greenpoint from the owners of Speedy Romero. The focus is on inventive, wood-fired Mexican cuisine and fancy cocktails. Admittedly, the food is stellar but we find it to be a little fussy and unnecessarily expensive.
Tacos, which arrive in pairs, form the largest section of the Oxomoco menu, and here are the four varieties we ate on consecutive nights last week, ranked: the beautifully funky Pork Cheek Carnitas with crackling chicharron; the Swordfish Achiote, the big, tender chunks of fish holding their own under a barrage of lively flavors, including habanero salsa; the rich and earthy Grilled Asparagus, which comes with fat morels, chipotle, and ramps; and the overwhelming Chicken Al Pastor, which was the only real “miss” in any category over two large meals.
There’s a lot more great food to eat here, too. The Tlayuda is terrific—a thin, crisp tortilla layered with lardo, refried beans, melted salty “string” cheese, and a grassy pipicha salsa. Even the Guacamole offers fresh thrills, thanks to a liberal sprinkling of queso fresco and whole smoked cherry tomatoes. And after all that smoke, salt, and heat, your table will need at least one of the Oxomoco desserts. Either of these will do the trick: the tart and tangy Hoja Santa Curd with smoked strawberry, lime drizzle, and raspberry ice; or the Oaxacan Chocolate Cake, a sweet and wonderful tower of dense pastry, a sticky disc of cajeta, walnut crumble, and vanilla ice cream.
Oxomoco is an exciting, enormously appealing restaurant, a big winner on all fronts that will likely be hopping all summer. And if you have to wait for a table inside, the comfortable front terrace is not a bad spot at all for a drink or two while doing so.
A breezy new Mexican restaurant is setting up shop this week, bringing wood-fired dishes from across the country to Greenpoint. The chef behind popular Bed-Stuy and Lower East Side pizza spot Speedy Romeo, Justin Bazdarich, has teamed up with his lifelong friend and restaurateur Chris Walton to open Oxomoco at 128 Greenpoint Ave., between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue, on Tuesday, June 5.
The menu centers around the wood-fired grill, which touches the tacos, meats, seafood, vegetables, tostadas, and ceviches that fill out the menu. Those tacos are the main focus: The corn tortillas are sourced from Mexico, and fillings include vegan beet “chorizo,” fried soft shell crab, chicken al pastor, pork cheek carnitas, and lamb barbacoa. The oven even makes its way to the drink menu, created by consultant Eben Klemm, with a toasted pineapple cordial, or a mole smoked in the oven and infused into mezcal.
The menu is a grab bag of Mexican dishes: It traverses from Tijuana (via the Caesar salad, for which they’re grilling half the romaine) to Ensenada (from which they’ve borrowed their style of tostadas) to Oaxaca (tlayuda with lard) over to the Yucatán (skewered swordfish achiote with habanero salsa for tacos). There’s also a nod to modern Mexican cooking in the tuna tostada, the style of the famous Contramar. “Everyone has sort of ripped off their tuna tostada,” Bazdarich says.
Here, it’s served with mashed avocado, thinly sliced radish, yellowfin tuna that’s brushed with soy sauce, and then topped with a smoky, sesame-based salsa macha and toasted sesame seeds. Speaking of toasting: “We’re just trying to make sure everything touches the grill somehow in some element of a dish,” Bazdarich says, an approach he’s imported from his pizzeria. Just as they make mozzarella at Speedy Romeo, they’re making giant balls of quesillo at Oxomoco, as well as a Valentina-like house hot sauce of arbol and guajillo chilies, vinegar, garlic, and salt.