Friday, May 8, 2015

Cantina Rooftop's Cinco de Mayo Pre-Opening Tasting Soiree

Salsa under the stars?  Sí.  Mezcal margaritas after work?  Por supuesto!  Modern Mexican cuisine, expertly crafted drinks and a year-round rooftop nightlife scene? Muy bueno! 

I had the absolute pleasure of attending Cantina Rooftop’s Cinco de Mayo pre-opening tasting party before its official grand opening on May 5th. Located on 605 W. 48th Street, this Mexican rooftop delight is perfectly situated to overlook the best views in the city. 

Cantina Rooftop is the latest dining/social experience from Pedro Zamora. Cantina Rooftop is distinguished by an innovative modern Mexican menu from Executive Chef Gonzalo Colin (Frankie & Johnnies, City Bistro, Sequoia, Robert), a Mexico City native who spent a year traveling to dozens of cities across Mexico to bring the best flavors and dishes home to New York City.

Just steps away from the Hudson River, and with stunning skyline views of Midtown Manhattan, Cantina Rooftop will be open year-round, rain or shine, made possible by a retractable rooftop and abundant space heaters during cooler months.  Intimate yet accommodating, the open-air venue features a 20-seat bar and lounge and an 80-person outdoor dining area with a secondary bar, surrounded by lush greenery, banquettes, and communal and individual tables.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Manhattan and I couldn’t be more excited to spend the evening at Cantina Rooftop with my dear friends. 

We bee-lined straight for the themed cocktails once we arrived.

Under the direction of noted mixologist Jason Silverman (Agave, Mojave), Cantina Rooftop’s offers a drink menu of imaginative and refreshing cocktails, with a focus on margaritas, and a unique tequila and mezcal list, including the hard-to-find Clase Azul Tequila.  Signature cocktails include the Cantina Margarita, made with Fidencio Mezcal, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar and Tajin spice rum; and the Tequila Sunset, with Tromba Blanco tequila, mango puree, lime juice, cava and Aperol.

Next, we went to fill our plates with yummy Mexican food. In addition to signature guacamole, salsas, and stone-ground Nixtamal tortillas freshly made in-house by La Señora del Comal (the lady of the griddle), the restaurant offers such house specials as barbacoa de carnero (maguey-braised lamb shank, consommé with guajillo sauce and comal corn tortillas), pollo campestre (chicken in Grandma’s Mole Negro served with green rice), and grilled Black Angus (arrachera steak with roasted potatoes, poblano peppers and charred asparagus).

One of my absolute favorite appetizers was the spicy tuna tacos. The combinations of unique spices made this dish that much more amazing!

Next, we were served a beyond delicious Lobster ceviche. After having that one bite I was completely hooked. I wish I could have taken more but it was quite the crowd favorite that night!

Along with a variety of tacos, tostaditas and ceviches, the menu also spotlights antojitos (“little cravings”), creative small plates such as enchiladitas poblanos (pulled chicken, Grandma’s Mole Negro and queso fresco), camarones locos (tequila fire Gulf shrimp, Mexican chile and spicy salt), and frijoles borrachos (braised Berkshire pork belly, hoja santa, mezcal and Negra Modelo lager).  Side dishes, such as Mexican street corn and fresh tortillas made on the rooftop in view of guests, are also must-tries.

It was so nice to spend the evening with my friends, Joyce, Hiromi and Joyce’s boyfriend Raoul. It was Joyce and Raoul’s first time visiting New York City from Amsterdam. 

I met Joyce (Just Like Sushi) a little over 5 years ago when we were both working as Fashion Bloggers for HUGO BOSS in Germany. It was such a dream to see her again in New York City as she always talked about coming to visit. We had such an incredible time catching up that evening. 
Thank you so much Cantina Rooftop for the best night!

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