NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bodega Negra, an offshoot of the popular London import known for its menu of upscale Mexican fare, opens today at Dream Downtown. TAO/Strategic Group worked alongside nightlife legend Serge Becker and his partners, celebrated UK restaurant operator Will Ricker and entrepreneur Ed Spencer Churchill, to bring this concept across the pond.
"The US location of Bodega Negra offers the same fun and upbeat dining experience found in the UK's La Bodega Negra," says Becker. "The concept, which very much embraces and reflects the ethos of the Mexican fiesta, aims to remind guests to celebrate life through good food, drink and music and most of all great friendships, at low and high tide."
Designed by Becker, who conceptualized the look and feel of the London dining experience, the 108-seat restaurant is the result of the transformation of the space located just off the lobby of Dream Downtown. Upon entering Bodega Negra, guests encounter an intimate, mock Tudor Hacienda space rich in dark tones and accented by mirrored panels and copper trim. A black, A-frame ceiling draws the eye up to exposed beams where a dramatic copper penny disco ball hangs central in the dining room. Mix-match decor, from screens made of repurposed Mariachi uniform details and guitars to collaged antique paintings, sets an evocative tone for the evening. Wooden tables and banquettes, upholstered in reclaimed military tents, animal hide, and traditional Mexican Serape textiles provide seating in the main dining room against a wall of antique tequila barrels.
Deconstructed pianos form the visual centerpiece of the 12-seat bar, replete with a bronze countertop and glass-blown, rose light fixtures. The menu of Mexican-inspired fare, created by Executive Chef Michael Armstrong, can be enjoyed in full at the bar or in the restaurant.
"I'm thrilled to return to Mexican cuisine; the flavors and ingredients are something I've been passionate about since the beginning of my career when I was cooking at Cafe Azul in Portland," says Executive Chef Michael Armstrong. "While I brought back a few tricks and popular dishes after working with the chefs at La Bodega Negra in London, about 60% of the menu is unique to this location. We're lucky to have access to some of the freshest ingredients here in New York City and we're not taking that for granted."
Chef Armstrong draws inspiration from the various regions of Mexico, with an emphasis on Southern Mexico, to create a menu that invites sharing and consists of a selection of starters, tostaditas, ceviches, salads, tacos, entrees and sides. New signature dishes unique to the restaurant include the Bodega Guacamole, served with fresh jicama slices for dipping in addition to house-made tortilla chips; Roasted Chile Relleno, quinoa, zucchini, mushroom, corn, onion, Chihuahua cheese, pasilla chile sauce; and Crispy Pork Belly, manchamanteles sauce, pineapple-plantain salsa.
TAO Group's influence has also been subtly woven into the menu. Chef Armstrong, who most recently helmed the kitchen of TAO Asian Bistro in Las Vegas, combines traditional Mexican ingredients with his mastery of Asian flavors and techniques to create dishes like Peking Duck Tacos, served with mole negro, sesame seeds and a kumquat morita compote wrapped in hand-pressed tortillas, made in-house daily. Select favorites from London, like the Quesadilla Rustica, a four-cheese, habanero and roasted tomato, open-face quesadilla served with chimichurri and crema; Tuna Ceviche served with guajillo chili vinaigrette, avocado, chile and sesame seeds; and Soft Shell Crab Tacos, served with guacamole, shredded lettuce and chipotle aioli, round out the menu. Large-format feasts will be available in the coming months for pre-order, including dishes like Whole Suckling Pig, which can be enjoyed by larger groups in the restaurant or the private dining room that can accommodate parties up to 24.
To end on a sweet note, Executive Pastry Chef Mauricio Santelice created a menu of Mexican-inspired desserts including Cocomel, coconut caramel custard served with vanilla bean whipped cream, and a selection of sweet Empanadas, filled with apples, strawberries, blueberries or cream cheese.
Signature cocktails by beverage expert Tim Cooper include twists on classic Mexican libations like the Chamomile Daisy, a riff on a classic margarita made with Reposado tequila, chamomile-apple agave and fresh lemon, and a classic Mexican Paloma, made with Blanco tequila, fresh grapefruit, aperol, herbaceous lemon and salt. Authentic Mexican Sangritas derived from fresh oranges and tomatoes are paired with the restaurant's 90+ list of tequila and mezcal available by the glass or by the bottle. A menu of Mexican beers, including Negra Modelo, Tecate, Corona, and craft brews such as Day of the Dead IPA, is also available, as well as a wine list offering both Old and New World varietals.
In the coming months, Bodega Negra will also offer scaled down lunch and dinner menus at the adjacent 35-seat cafe that is Melvin's Juice Box, serving as a hangout for locals and hotel guests alike.
Bodega Negra is located at 355 West 16th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) at Dream Downtown in New York City. Dinner is served Monday – Sunday, 5:30pm – Late. For reservations, please call 212-229-2336 or visit www.bodeganegranyc.com for more information.
ABOUT LA BODEGA NEGRA UK
La Bodega Negra opened in March 2012, creating a new standard for London dining and seamlessly bringing together theatre, bonhomie, and authentic Mexican fare. The restaurant is made up of intricately decorated rooms that glow with mystery and exclusivity, which encourage guests to mingle and discover. The menu aims to challenge preconceptions of Mexican cuisine, and uses a wood burning grill to create a fresh, authentic taste. The cocktail list, designed for a 'night out,' is comprised of tequila and mezcal libations and encourage guests to join in on the festive spirit. La Bodega Negra is a melting pot of diversity that embraces all walks of life, for more information, please visit www.labodeganegra.com
ABOUT TAO GROUP
The TAO GROUP is a leading restaurant and nightlife company that develops, owns and operates many of the most successful food, beverage and nightlife entertainment venues in the United States. Partners Marc Packer, Richard Wolf, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss bring decades of hospitality experience to the brand portfolio. Currently TAO Group boasts operations in New York City, Las Vegas and Sydney, Australia. In New York City, the collection includes Arlington Club, Avenue, Avra, Beauty & Essex, LAVO Italian Restaurant and Nightclub, Marquee Nightclub, Rue 57, The Stanton Social, TAO Asian Bistro Uptown and TAO Asian Bistro Downtown. Additionally they operate all of the food and beverage outlets of the Dream Downtown hotel including room service, Ph-D Rooftop, Electric Room Lounge, Melvin's Juice Box and Bodega Negra. Las Vegas operations include TAO Asian Bistro, Nightclub & Beach at The Venetian, LAVO Italian Restaurant & Lounge at The Palazzo and Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan. Marquee Nightclub at The Star - Sydney represents the company's first international offering. TAO Group regularly brings the brands to additional markets via pop-up venues at noted events such as the Sundance Film Festival and The Olympics, among others.
ABOUT DREAM DOWNTOWN
Situated in New York's most exciting destination, on the border of the charming Chelsea and thriving Meatpacking District, Dream Downtown represents a reinvigoration of the Dream brand, pairing chic-cool influences with modern elegance, all while maintaining Vikram Chatwal Hotels' trademark combination of cosmopolitan glamour, whimsical design and top-standard service. Following a multi-million dollar renovation of an iconic Albert Ledner building, Dream Downtown's modernist façade houses loft-inspired guestrooms and suites, innovative concept dining, a landscaped outdoor terrace featuring a heated pool with a translucent bottom visible from the ceiling of the lobby lounge, a beach club, and an expansive destination rooftop lounge offering dramatic views of the New York City skyline. www.dreamdowntown.com
SOURCE TAO Group