I recently visited the one-year-old Latin American restaurant Comodo in the Freehold Hotel at 23 Lexington between 23rd and 24th Streets. Upon walking in for the first time, I was impressed by the 1920’s vibe of the decor, dark lighting and cozy booths. I quickly noticed the rollicking scene by the large wooden bar in the center of the dining area and got the feeling that a lot of the guests had made Comodo their regular watering hole. Everyone seemed to know each other and they seemed to be having so much fun.
They have unique signature cocktails so I can’t blame anyone for wanting to try a Don’t Call Me Shirley, which is an adult version of a Shirley Temple with vodka and fresh ginger added to the cherry juice base. The cucumber centered Riptide is also amazing and a must if your regular drink is a Mojito and you want to try a new run drink that has both a cucumber and lime kick. You can see them both in the photo above and it is a lot of fun to sip them slowly and do some people watching out of the resto’s front window.
The Gem Salad is the perfect item to start your meal off and it is a large portion that can work for as many as three people to share. Every component is farm to table fresh including the gem lettuce which I find to be an even more tender than butter lettuce. It is topped with a sweet yogurt dressing and then some juicy grapes, pumpkin and sesame seeds are added. Some wild field greens find their way into the mix as well.
Comodo’s tacos are considered among the best you can find in Gramercy Park and the spit grilled and then pulled Carnitas Taco which not only feature tender pork but pineapple, red cabbage, cilantro, onions and salsa. These are simple and amazingly fresh. They are light so you can easily have a couple before your entry. The pulled pork is ultra juicy with a slight peppery kick and the soft corn tortillas are freshly made with Heirloom Corn which is the main reason these are so desirable.
The Wild Mushroom al Ajillo Tacos are something I would recommend to any vegan looking for something truly tasty and satisfying. Heck, I am not even vegan and adored them! Classic wild mushrooms along with one large white mushroom are placed on each tortilla and topped with cilantro, Habanero ash and shredded white Oaxaca cheese. They have an extra shot of flavor since the mushrooms are marinated in a balsamic mixture.
Every restaurant has a top secret item that you ask for and at Comodo, it’s the Special Pasta. If you ask your server what it has on it, they’ll just say that it is fusilli pasta with Pecorino and butter but this is really a complex mix of flavors that will send you reeling. It almost tastes like it has very sharp melted cheddar in the sauce but kick is from both the fresh and dried peppers used. The toasted sesame seeds and baby kale on top give this unforgettable pasta dish a nice crunch to mix with the creaminess.
Next up was the Picanha beef which came with amazing charred sweet Fingerling potato fries, a creamy Aja Verde sauce and a Rooftop sweet potato purée. The portion was generous even through it is stated to be only 10 ounces—there was definitely over a pound of boneless Prime meat in this dish. The slices of marinated Picanha oozed juice when you cut into them and I could not help both notice that the meat had beautiful marbling.
The Achiote Chicken is an Argentinian dish that is truly unique and that you will want to order time and time again. There are two large pieces of skin-on white meat free range chicken sautéed to a golden brown in a mustard butter sauce and served over Calaspera rice with a pesto sauce. They simply call this “green rice” at Comodo. It is super satisfying. I guarantee you will be taking leftovers of this home and enjoying it for lunch the next day as this is a very generously sized dish.
The Charred Half Cauliflower has a remarkable smoky taste and is super tender. It is a simple dish done to a beautiful golden brown color thanks to being brushed with EVOO while cooking in the oven. This will turn any cauliflower hater to a cauliflower lover after one mouthful! The cauliflower lies in a salsa verde that packs a little bit of a spicy kick.
My dining partner and I could not resist sharing the Chocolate Stuffed Churros for dessert especially since they came with both caramel and orange dipping sauces. Both dipping sauces were remarkable—the caramel has a deep warm buttery taste and the orange sauce is reminiscent of a Creamsicle taste. The chocolate cream inside the churros is made with Creme Anglaise. You will love the crunchy cinnamon and sugar coating on the churros. I think that I probably could easily eat a dozen of these!
For more info on Comodo, which also feature a vast array of seafood dishes, go to www.ComodoNYC.com. This is a mid-priced resto that will definitely give you your money’s worth. Reservations are not necessary but are recommended.