Hispanic Influence: Fine Dining The Latin Way
As I said before, the Hispanic Influence on the American way of life reaches beyond just music. Really, Latin culture seeps into various aspects of Americana, not the least of which is food. The impact Latin cuisine has on the national culinary arts becomes evident in certain locations like New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Houston and Los Angeles. From carts and stands to dives and mom and pop restaurants, you get a wonderful immersion into Latin culture just passing by these establishments.
Nevertheless, what provides a certain legitimacy that a culture is here to stay is its entry into the upper echelons of choice, in this case, fine dining. The growing acceptance international rating institutions are having with Hispanic restaurants show a deeper understanding that Latin gastronomy does, in fact, involve great care, expertise, and range of experimentation on par with Italian, French, Indian, or even Asian cuisines. Let’s review some Michelin-rated examples:
Panca—New York, New York (Peruvian)
New York City—known for its diversity among marquee restaurants—only recently had its first Hispanic, Michelin-star restaurant Casa Enrique specialized in traditional Mexican fare. However, more and more, Latin restaurants created their inroads in the tough NYC market with Michelin stars to boot. One such restaurant is Panca. Known for its primarily Peruvian cuisine, Panca fuses many different influencers in their plates without losing their Hispanic identity. Ceviche, Secos, traditional Peruvian chicken on the rotisserie, or quinoa-based plates are staples of Panca’s menu. And as for drinks, yes, the traditional Pisco Sour is on the list.
The Bazaar by Jose Andrés—Miami Beach, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Beverly Hills, California (Spanish)
James Beard award-winning chef Jose Andrés mixes his daring ingenuity with traditional Spanish tapas at The Bazaar. You will definitely find typical appetizers like Gazpacho, Tortillas de Patatas and Jamon Iberico presented in a way only Chef Andrés can. Yet, also on the menu are other Hispanic dishes like Dragon Fruit Ceviche or Pollo al Ajillo Cubano. Again, The Bazaar’s offerings mesmerizes the senses not only through unique presentations or the variety but also by the distinct Hispanic influence that distinguishes it.
Californios—San Francisco, California (Mexican)
Also a difficult market to break through, San Francisco holds a variety of Michelin-starred restaurants which includes Californios—a distinctly Mexican restaurant that provides luxury in a very hip way. Reserve your place for a 16-course experience where staples like Chicharrón, Barbacoa and the ubiquitous Tacos find a very fine dining, gourmet presentation. Californios can even take the simple plate of black beans, the Enfrijolada, or Agua Frescas and convert them to highly distinguished versions of themselves.
Definitely, there should be more Michelin-rated, Hispanic restaurants. Why? Because the Hispanic Influence on fine dining is undeniable. Each Latin American country offers their own distinct cuisine rich in flavors and ingredient pairings. However, for those already carrying this incredible distinction, the Hispanic gastronomy is beyond well-represented. Buen provecho!