First Look at Oficina Latina, Bringing Pan-American Sexiness to Soho

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Photo: Melissa Hom

Some time ago, boa-wearing, rock-and-roll Frenchman Max Busato opened a restaurant in Venice that had a Route 66 theme. Now in New York, he’s teamed up with two Italians, Paolo Votano and Francesco Sforza, to open the Pan-American Highway–themed Oficina Latina. With the help of odds and ends from the Brimfield Antique Show (including dozens of miniature pigs — look out, Ken Friedman!), the team has given the space that once housed Nikki Cascone’s Prince 24 a makeover inspired by a mechanic’s shop. Black-and-white photos from the Carrera Panamericana race grace a family-dining area with a decorative fireplace, and an actual 1965 BMW motorcycle will soon be installed. Still another corner will host Latin jazz acts once a week, and later on, an intimate 25-seat basement will host bring-your-own-vinyl nights (also in the works: a back garden with canopy).

The chef is Abraham Trinidad, who last worked at Roberto Passon but is tapping his Mexican heritage here, as well as turning out dishes from Brazil, Argentina, and so on. The cocktail list, designed by former flair bartender Votano, is similarly pan-Latin and will change seasonally (currently on offer: a passion-fruit caipirinha, a Concord-grape mojito, and an avocado and tequila concoction). It’s complemented by an extensive list of rums, cachacas, tequilas, piscos, mescals, and the much less commonly seen sotol (a mescal-esque drink distilled from northern Mexico’s Desert Spoon plant). Half-shots (perfect for sampling) are served with an orange slice dipped in ground coffee, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The restaurant quietly opened a week ago and expects to launch lunch and brunch soon — in the meantime, check out the dinner menu as well as the space.

Oficina Latina Menu [MenuPages]

Oficina Latina, 24 Prince St., nr. Mott St.; 646-381-2555