Chicha Cafetin — New York, USA
When it comes to adventurous and out-of-the-box dining experiences, it’s pretty clear that that Manhattan no longer holds all the aces. A combination of real estate costs and space has pushed enterprising young chefs farther afield where there are still spacious venues to be had, and diners are less buttoned up and more open to freewheel down culinary paths less taken.
Case in point is this bright bolthole in Brooklyn’s Bushwick, the brainchild of a troupe of F&B veterans including Vanessa Palazio, the co-founder of the Lower East Side’s grilled cheese favourite, Little Muenster. Inspired by the street-side fritangas and cafetins that tinge the childhood memory of the Nicaraguan-born Palazio, C. Wall Architecture have converted an old warehouse garage into an airily playful South American background of blues and almost subliminal pyramidal tropes conceived in tropical hardwoods, cement tiles, and gold-hued chairs.
Against a giant mural of tropical jungle motifs by local artist W3RC, the kitchen sends out millennial takes on classic Nicaraguan snack foods. House-milled corn tortillas, for instance, come draped with quesillo cheese and plantain vinegar pickled onions, and topped with everything from beer-braised pork to sea bean slaw; whilst black clams are poached in coconut milk, alongside a pickled cabbage salad of green papaya, yucca and chicharron.