A breezy new Mexican restaurant is setting up shop this week, bringing wood-fired dishes from across the country to Greenpoint. The chef behind popular Bed-Stuy and Lower East Side pizza spot Speedy Romeo, Justin Bazdarich, has teamed up with his lifelong friend and restaurateur Chris Walton to open Oxomoco at 128 Greenpoint Ave., between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue, on Tuesday, June 5.
The menu centers around the wood-fired grill, which touches the tacos, meats, seafood, vegetables, tostadas, and ceviches that fill out the menu. Those tacos are the main focus: The corn tortillas are sourced from Mexico, and fillings include vegan beet “chorizo,” fried soft shell crab, chicken al pastor, pork cheek carnitas, and lamb barbacoa. The oven even makes its way to the drink menu, created by consultant Eben Klemm, with a toasted pineapple cordial, or a mole smoked in the oven and infused into mezcal.
Before Speedy Romeo, Bazdarich worked for celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten for many years, working his way from an intern to the opening chef de cuisine at Perry Street and then helping Vongerichten open 15 restaurants around the world. He and Walton settled on a Mexican restaurant after falling in love with the country’s culture and cuisine after many trips there.
“We wanted to honor bits and pieces of the entire country versus focusing on one particular part, so there are dishes from the Yucatan, Baja, Oaxaca, Mexico City,” Walton says. “Justin and I are a couple of white kids from Missouri — we’re not trying to be anything that we’re not and instead just honor Mexican culture and all its beauty and greatness.”
The space is a particular focus, with a large, 25-seat patio out front full of greenery and leading into a sunny, whitewashed, 85-seat space. High ceilings and greenery dripping from skylights gives the dining room a bright, lively feel.
Oxomoco — named after an Aztec goddess and pronounced “Oh-shoh-moh-koh” — is open daily at 5:30 p.m., with lunch and brunch to come.