Why enjoy just one type of food when you can indulge yourself in fusion cuisine? From your seat in Mexico City, prepare your palate for some unusual yet wonderful tastes, and allow these two restaurants to take you on a journey around the world via their eclectic selection of culinary combinations
Japanese Precision, Latin Fun
When you think about Japanese cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind are the perfect cuts of sashimi, the precise technique of tempura, or the harmonic balance of sushi. Nobu Matsuhisa is a world-renowned chef who creates food that embodies these qualities, yet also a man who incessantly seeks to fuse the traditional Japanese cooking he learned in Tokyo kitchens with the culinary discoveries made while traveling through Peru. The result is Nobu, a restaurant with branches all over the world. Getting a table in either of the two branches in Mexico City is as difficult as it is satisfying. Both in Santa Fe and Polanco, you’ll find architectural and design details that will amaze you the moment you step foot inside. In Polanco, as you approach the beautiful mansion that houses the restaurant, you’ll see the root of a huge tree that’s been turned into a striking sculpture. The food in both branches shows exactly why Matsuhisa is considered by many as the world’s best chef when it comes to Japanese cooking. Nevertheless, his fusions of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine also include certain Mexican touches that make these restaurants unique places to indulge your love for inventive and intelligent cooking. We recommend you begin with the Toro Tartar, a dish that combines the simplicity of tuna with the luxury of caviar, or with Nobu Tacos, which consist of tuna and salmon served with crunchy tortillas and homemade salsa. On the menu at Nobu, you’ll find a wide range of dishes that wink knowingly at Mexican cooking, like the Hamachi sashimi with jalapeños, and rib-eye tacos. However, the star dish is undoubtedly the house specialty—succulent cod marinated in miso, which is prepared slowly to seal in its unforgettable silky taste.
Over the last decade, fine Mexican cuisine has gained an international reputation, thanks to the bold and adventurous blending of traditional recipes and ideas taken from other parts of the world. Quintonil is one of the best restaurants to experience this fusion of traditional and modern styles. As soon as you arrive it’s clear that the duo that run this restaurant, Alejandra Flores and the chef Jorge Vallejo (who worked in many restaurants around the world before embarking on his own enterprise) focus on what is most important. The atmosphere is sober, and everything is centered on the two most important elements: food and service. The service is attentive, informed and relaxed, and the food….well, mere words can’t do it justice. Although the focus is predominantly on Mexican ingredients, Vallejo is clearly passionate about creating new ways of experiencing them. The result is a menu that’s always adapted to the season, and never has more than 20 dishes available at any one time. So as not to miss out on the full range on the menu, make sure to ask for the tasting menu and let yourself be carried away by its surprising sensations. The menu sometimes includes smoked marlin in purslane and fennel salsa, traditional amaranth tamales stuffed with guacamole and vegetables, and sirloin from the world-renowned Wagyu breed marinated in the ancient Aztec liquor “pulque.” And after tasting such delightful desserts as mammee apple ice cream with pinole cookie, you’re sure to agree that fusion cuisine is the best thing to have happened to Mexican cooking in recent decades.