The tropical new location of chef/underwear model Franco Noriega’s Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant Baby Brasa soft opened this week with tons of Pisco cocktails, greenery, and the chef’s taste for cheeky art.
The building at 173 7th Avenue South in the West Village — formerly home to longtime Chinese restaurant Empire Szechuan — has been painted white on the outside, along with a mural that declares “I FEEL YOU BABY.” Inside, potted plants fill the space, and the wall by the entrance has also been painted with tropical greenery, right next to a small skateboard rack. (Noriega, who’s known for baring his abs, has said skateboarding is how he stays in shape.) Like every proper restaurant from a fashion-adjacent owner, it has pops of pink.
The restaurant seats about 90 people, not including a private dining room — far larger than Noriega’s tiny first takeout spot on the Lower East Side.
As such, the menu is slightly expanded. New to Baby Brasa is a cocktail section with an emphasis on Pisco, a brandy from Peru. Besides a Pisco sour, he offers a chicha colada, a Pisco-imbued take on a pina colada, and a spicy drink with passion fruit puree called “Stay Gold,” the line that’s also Noriega’s email signature.
Rotisserie chicken remains the flagship item, with options for quarter chickens with dark or white meat and sandwiches with pulled rotisserie chicken. A few salads, sides, and appetizers have also been added, such as a yucca stuffed with cheese and accompanied by a yellow chili sauce.
It’s a fairly small and casual menu. Besides the chicken, the only entree option is three sandwiches. And although the chef’s first restaurant attracted many tourists due to his appearances on shows like “Ellen,” Noriega says Baby Brasa is intended to be a neighborhood restaurant showing off the favorite aspects of his home country of Peru. “I’m bringing every element that I grew up with that’s so underrated and making it regular,” he says.
Check out the menu below and some photos of the space below.