Luis Arce Mota sold his share in Café Condesa last year to try to open a place in Cabo San Lucas (he’s an avid surfer and scuba diver), but after that proved too pricey, he came back here, and tomorrow he’ll open Ofrenda. Unlike Condesa’s New American–Mexican fusion, Luis (who started as a dishwasher at Carmine’s and went on to work in the kitchens of Bouley and others) is hearkening back to his childhood in Mazatlan and the tables his family would set up for neighbors on the weekends.
His posole is inspired by his mother’s, though he says that thanks to the fat-skimming skills he picked up at Cordon Bleu, his isn’t as greasy. (Though he admits that, in the style of a steakhouse in his hometown, he marinates his pork loin in pork fat and maple syrup.) So, will he serve the pig’s eyeball wrapped in corn leaf that his mother also made? Maybe if diners are open to it, but not for now. Another thing he won’t be serving? His favorite food in the world: tacos.
That’s because he’s blocks away from Mercadito, Agave, and Diablo Royale, among others. “I love tacos,” he tells us. “But I was thinking it’d be better to present food with five components where you can sit and relax.” (The five components are protein, starch, vegetables, garnish, and sauce. Mota is also leaning on an arsenal of ten dry peppers and three fresh ones.) Taco weariness aside, Mota is doing his version of chimichangas, though he’s adding an Asian twist by wrapping his slow-cooked pig’s feet in egg rolls instead of tortillas.
Take a look at Ofrenda’s offerings, via the menu and our slideshow. The tequila and mescal cocktails also lean nostalgic: They’re made with Jarritos sodas.
Ofrenda, 113 Seventh Ave. S., nr. Christopher St.; 212-924-2305