Hours: Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday
Closed Sunday, Monday
A liquid nitrogen station put to liberal use, vacuum-frozen squash foam, a dessert called "chili-cheese nachos" . . . welcome to "molecular gastrologist" Homaro Cantu's restaurant/lab/fun house.
It took Moto chef Homaro Cantu just a few years to earn a global reputation as one of the most gonzo practitioners of "molecular gastronomy." His Fulton Market restaurant is a surprisingly subdued showcase, one small, dimly lit dining room and bar. But perhaps that makes sense: the food—tasting menus only—supplies the bells and whistles. On my last visit we were by turns excited, amused, befuddled, annoyed, impressed, and delighted. Consider, for instance, "blue cod and popcorn": lightly seared fish served over a popcorn puree, topped with coconut powder, accessorized with noodles made from gelled passion fruit, and finished with an electric green dollop of shiso syrup. It was a riot of strong flavors, but there was no alchemy to them combined. And I could do without gee-whiz novelties like the candied packing peanut and laser-smoked orange zest entirely. Other dishes were more successful, putting Cantu’s trademarked (literally) technical shenanigans to work in the service of food that actually tastes good.
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