I'm a big fan of Fifth Group. They manage a group of restaurants with varying vibes and cuisines and create enticing enough experiences that you forget they're not independently owned and operated. With Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean and Southern under their belts, they're opening their first downtown spot focusing on Latin American cuisine on Dec. 6. Taking over the spot previously held by NY transplant, Il Mulino, Alma Cocina will fuse contemporary Mexican with flavors from across Latin America. Executive Chef Chad Clevenger has done stints with some Mexican cuisine guru Rick Bayless and previously worked at the renowned Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe.
The menu includes items such as cachaca braised short rib with Bazilian fejoada eans, chicarrons and cilantro chimichurri ($9), pork cheek arepa with black beans, pickled apple guasaca, queso de mano and micro cilantro ($7); and Mexican style charred corn on the cob with garlic aioli, guajilo chile powder, quesa cotija, queso fresco, lime, cilantro and epazote ($4). The Mexican corn at El Taco is one of my fave dishes, so I have high hopes for this version!
No Mexican inspired resto worth its salted rims could exist without a kick*** cocktail list. At Alma you can sip Latin favorites such as Pisco, Cachaca and Mezcal, and I kid you not, there's even a "specialty ice cube program that explores the nuances of hand selected tequila paired with infused ice" as well as blending up the perfect Havana Daiquiri or Brazilian fruit smoothies. What is specialty ice you ask? The 2010 Single Estate Tequila Ocho, “Los Corrales” – a unique, small batch tequila will be served with an ice selection of seasoned coconut water or fresh pineapple. With everything being "house made" these days, is anyone really surprised that even ice is special now?
I'm looking forward to checking Alma Cocina out soon. Downtown needs some exciting dining options, and I trust Fifth Group to get it right!
191 Peachtree Street NE (in the One Ninety One Peachtree Tower)