The Gitano, Garden of Love is a summery series in an oasis among the concrete and glass of SoHo that aims to showcase inventive chefs who share a love of Mexican food and the Yucatán. Immediately under the neon sign that announces the restaurant’s name, there’s a little path that goes up to the seating area. All around there are palm trees, other greenery, and even a reflection pool around the back—a serene and a perfect way to start off an evening. Guests had the opportunity to walk around for a bit with drinks in hand. The specialty of the night was a refreshing and effervescent strawberry and mezcal cocktail, which reflected the season and the origins of the guest chef.
On July 24, guests had the opportunity to sample food chef from Jose Luis Hinostroza of Arca Tulum and chef Mads Refslund of Noma, which famously did a pop-up in Tulum recently under the guidance of Rene Redzepi. There was a beautifully plated guacamole platter with an insane amount of delicious fresh seasonal vegetables, and some totopos, which is fried corn tortilla to dip. Next there was fresh creamy sea urchin ceviche and chapulines—what grasshoppers are called in Mexico. The following item on the menu was a green coconut ceviche with fresh Long Island fluke. It was followed by a small but surprisingly filling prawn taco with coconut and jicama slaw. The star of the whole meal was the fresh fruit platter that featured a passion fruit cream, which balanced out the tart acidity of the berries. Everything was incredibly fresh and imaginative, and showed off an inventive side to Mexican food that is sometimes lacking in the States.
The dishes by chefs Hinostroza and Refslund will continue to be served at Gitano’s Garden of Love through the end of the summer.