An Early Look at the East Village's Confessional, Where Secrets and Food Are Meant to Be Shared

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Billy Lyons
Secrets are meant to be shared
Dark corners are usually a place people meet to converse privately, but a new Latin fusion restaurant in the East Village is attempting to be a game changer when it comes to a memorable night out. Confessional (308 East 6th Street; 212-477-2400) adds a twist to the intimate design genre with a giant mural made up of personal secrets -- a collection of chalkboard tweets from customers that disappear after closing each night. Eight years in development, the interactive art piece already has created some memorable moments since its debut earlier this year -- particularly when it comes to first dates and the words "I love you" -- and the gentleman who returns frequently with different women to write those three words again and again.

Customers telling friendly barkeeps their innermost thoughts is nothing new, but sharing your life with a group of strangers can act like a therapy session. The wall is the work of Dominican artist and interior designer Jorge Brown, whose phrases such as "Don't Tell" and "Have You Confessed?" act as a bullseye for guests to clear their conscience. Chandeliers hang over the sleek bar, and shelves are lined with books and trinkets gathered from New York area flea markets. The entire space is designed to make people feel relaxed and release their inhibitions from a long day, and that mood is further helped along with cocktails by Nelson Lemus, which showcase several South American spirits including pisco, cachaca, and mezcal. "We want to have a story," says owner Erika Fisher about the theme.

To match the intimacy of the decor, chef Ricardo Cardona's menu showcases pan-Latin cuisine, drawing from popular dishes from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and New York City's Lower East Side -- many with a focus on mixing sour and sweet tastes. Mofongitos -- plantains stuffed with shrimp -- are topped with an enchilado sauce, while shrimp chicharon is accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce. Even the menu accentuates the theme of salvation through speech, with categories titled Mortal Sins, Commandments, and Holy Sacraments substituting for the typical course titles.

Check out the photos -- and some naughty confessions -- on the next page:



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