Art galleries and the Highline have always been my favorite downtown hangouts. But now , there is a new one : The Americano – a Modern French restaurant that has become West Chelsea’s latest gem.
The kitchen of this spacious yet sleek restaurant, which makes its home in the architectural achievement that is the Hotel Americano, is helmed by a chef with a star-studded culinary pedigree: Executive Chef Joseph Buenconsejo was chef de cuisine at John DeLucie’s The Lion after cutting his teeth with notable chefs as Wayne Nish and Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York City and at top San Francisco restaurants Aqua and Masa’s. But for his debut as an executive chef, Chef Buenconsejo is kicking his creativity into high gear, crafting seasonal modern French fare with a touch of Latin flair.
My friend Helio Campos, the young and charming Brazilian Hotel PR likes to surround himself among others with a crowd from his Country that goes without saying is the perfect mix of artists , trend-setters and beautiful models who might be very skinny but I personally witness savor Buenconsejo's Ceviches with palmitos. My favourite is the delicious Slow Poached Egg with Green & white asparagus, whipped truffle hollandaise . I also recommend the Chilean Seabass with Black olives, crushed peas, melted leeks, olive oil emulsion.
The Latin accent within the cuisine is in tribute to The Americano owner, Grupo Habita, widely known for pioneering the boutique hotel concept in Mexico. Chef Buenconsejo cleverly incorporates Mexican and South American ingredients into dishes prepared with classic French techniques, developing dishes that are recognizable but accessorized with a twist.In a building designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten with interiors by the Parisian designer Arnaud Montigny, The restaurant’s dining room is as striking as Chef Buenconsejo’s food. The design of the space perfectly embodies the aesthetics of the neighborhood’s art galleries. I like to work on joellestagram after lunch and have my expresso macchiato on the elegant and sophisticated black banquettes while my friends chat among themselves, text on their phones or walk around the high ceilings, large light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows accentuate the sun-drenched room.
. From day to night The Americano morphs itself from coffee bar and lunchroom to chic and romantic with no pretentions. In warmer weather sliding doors give way to a greenery filled back patio with concrete picnic tables that are perfect for large group dining. Rooftop pool side dining is also available at the newly-opened bar and restaurant, La Piscine, which serves a separate menu of Mediterranean fare. You can enjoy a few photos of the warm atmosphere that takes place on Sundays after brunch and the beautiful urban views and chill lifestyle the rooftops offers on Joellestagram.
Indeed, diners can revel in Chef Buenconsejo’s creative food all day long. In addition to evening meals that are worth lingering over, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and brunch. In the morning, pair a sinfully sweet French pastry with a hearty breakfast wake-up call. At lunch gallery owners and artists that inhabit this neighborhood are diving into the various salads and sandwiches that the chef has devised, and brunch takes on a life of its own as the neighborhood comes alive with gallery hoppers and shoppers.
The best I have saved for last: and while The Americano is an incredible dining destination for locals, the restaurant also offers an extra benefit for hotel guests: Hotel Americano patrons can order room-service bento boxes, Chef Buenconsejo’s artistic take on the traditional Japanese take-out meal. The exquisitely presented squared meals are the talk of the town, with five selections available for breakfast and five more offered around the clock. To order, guests can simply call from their rooms or go high-tech, using their in-room iPads to place their bento box selection.
Live that life, it's a must!
More on the Grupo Habita new Gems coming soon.