This week's review is of Cocina Economica Mexico on the Upper West Side, where Pedro Hernandez Perez was put in charge of a Mexican kitchen after winning over David Bank and the Land Thai team with the family meals he prepared, inspired by his hometown of Puebla. To celebrate good family meals (the ones that sustain cooks in between the mediocre ones), Fork asked a few chefs and restaurateurs about their favorites. Here's what they said:
Alex Raij, Txikito
Txikito's family meals are better than La Vara's, in all honesty. The two best dishes are a pozole made with suckling-pig heads, and pork ribs (or chops) in salsa verde. We always make salad and rice too.
Bill Telepan, Telepan
Every Saturday, the Ecuadorian butchers at Telepan prepare a great marinated chicken meal using a traditional spice blend of chile powder, oregano, orange juice, onion, paprika, lime juice, and cilantro. My sous chef, Kenny, grew up in Chinatown and makes a great sweet and sour pork whenever he's in charge of the meal. When it's my turn, my go-to dish is Italian beef sandwiches -- Chicago-style.
Dale Talde, Talde
When I was just a line cook at Vong, the chef was Geoff Felsenthal, one of my mentors. The day before Thanksgiving, he commissioned all the sous chefs to make a perfect family meal. Growing up Filipino, I never had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- just shitty turkey and lumpy mashed potatoes. But the turkey was bomb, the gravy was bangin', the stuffing was amazing (it was this cornbread stuffing with jalapeño and cheddar), and there was perfect creamed spinach. The pastry chef made pumpkin pie and pecan pie and it meant a lot to everyone -- a lot of the cooks at Vong weren't from Chicago, so this was the only meal they'd be having that Thanksgiving.