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Centrico - The Myriad Flavors of Mexico in Tribeca

It’s the night after Labor Day and pouring. Every taxi that comes down Lexington Avenue is either occupied or “Off-Duty.” Just when we’re about to give up, one appears like magic out of the mist and transports us downtown to a restaurant on the street level of one of those former factories from the time before Tribeca had a name, long converted into industrial chic. Seated at a window-front table that looks out to the single square in the neighborhood, we turn our backs on the rain, take in the terra cotta walls, the reddish-golden glow of the lights, and contemplate a Tequila/Mezcal list with 55 selections of intriguing and intoxicating spirits made from agave plants. And suddenly, the night has turned sublime.

This is Centrico presented by the Myriad Group, Mexican cuisine with authenticity and detail. No rice and beans, not a shred of lettuce. Instead a focus on the wide regional variety and complexity of Mexican food often in unique combinations and enhanced by exotic spices and chiles.  There is the expected yet always welcomed guacamole, but also things we never saw on a Mexican restaurant’s menu before like frog legs with cilantro, tongue tacos, and pork belly or menudo. There are new takes on traditional items like the little fried green tomatoes whose rinds were flaky as a pastry’s accompanied by tiny sautéed rock shrimp and a creamy guajillo sauce; corn fritters with black beans over fresh cheese and bracing salsa; delicate, little soft shell crabs with jalapeño sauce; delectable sweet plantains with crema fresca; ceviches of shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and clams with micro greens and lime juice; miniature tacos with lump crabmeat, avocado and chipotle lime aioli. And those are the starters. Among the entrées are seared tuna tacos with avocado and mango-cucumber salsa, and pan seared scallops with green pea puree and passion fruit vinaigrette.

“This is a modern Mexican restaurant,” says the affable Drew Nieporent, discoverer and perennial re-inventor of Tribeca, who -- together with brother and equally affable Tracy -- has now added Centrico to Myriad’s Tribeca Grill, Nobu, and Montrachet in Manhattan’s trendiest downtown neighborhood. “We are trying to do dishes you don’t normally see in every Mexican restaurant in New York. We want to be rid of all the clichés.”


Chef Aarón Sànchez (center) with Myriad’s Tracy (left) and Drew Nieporent

Making all this happen is the very young and very handsome Chef Aarón Sànchez. “We’ve known Aarón for quite some time; he has tremendous pedigree,” Drew adds, acknowledging Zarella Martinez, a pioneer of Mexican cooking in New York and  Aarón's mother.

“I’ve always been a fan of Mexican food. Mexico is like Italy in that all the regions are different. For me it’s always about the culture of the country and how it extends to the food. Myriad is a culinary journey that presents to a very oversaturated New York market, that has seen just about everything, something a cut above and a little bit different. We always try to distinguish ourselves.”

And once again, they are.

Centrico
211 West Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10013

Phone: 212 431-0700

541-608-8521
Web:  http://www.myriadrestaurantgroup.com

Photographs by Harvey Frommer

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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