In Greenpoint’s restaurant scene, like attracts like. The north Brooklyn neighborhood has become home to its own Little Tokyo, made up of tea shops and Japanese cafes, and there’s a longstanding community of Polish immigrants, who have dotted its streets with bakeries and restaurants, many still open. For various reasons, in recent years the area has also attracted some of the more interesting Mexican restaurants opening in the city, including Oxomoco, one of New York’s only Michelin-starred Mexican spots, and Taqueria Ramirez, which shot straight to the top of most best taco lists when it opened in 2021.
Mitica is the newest. The restaurant comes from the owners of Mariscos El Submarino, a small seafood counter in Jackson Heights credited with jumpstarting a new wave of interest in Mexican mariscos. Their new restaurant isn’t another seafood shop: It’s a sit-down Mexican restaurant that also serves tomahawk steaks and duck breast risotto — making it something of a Mexican steakhouse. It’s probably the only place in town you’ll find aguachile and mashed potatoes on the same menu.
Coming up in Manhattan, Guzman used to work in French and Italian restaurants. “I learned so many things at those restaurants,” Guzman says. “It was some of my first work.” He says that Mitica, which opened on Wednesday at 222 Franklin Street, near Green Street, serves Mexican dishes made using French and Italian techniques. Porque no los tres?
On his menu: a tomahawk steak with a demi-glace made from pasilla chiles and fish sauce; a pork shank that spends seven hours in a slow cooker before landing next to a quenelle of mashed potatoes; and a version of the Sinaloan dish tacos gobernador made with lobster instead of shrimp. In Manhattan, Guzman often worked the pasta station at Italian restaurants and learned to love to make risotto. He serves the rice dish at Mitica with green pipián, a blend of pumpkin seeds and chiles, and fat slices of duck breast.
For the opening, Guzman recruited Edgar Gonzalez, a chef who’s worked in the kitchens of upscale Mexican restaurants like Cosme, Atla, and Aldama. On opening night, the pair worked behind the counter of the small open kitchen, turning out orders for a sparsely populated restaurant with more than 80 seats between two dining rooms, a bar, and a covered back patio.
Mitica is almost unrecognizable from Guzman’s first restaurant, where $20 gets you a massive volcanic bowl sloshing with raw and cooked shrimp, cucumber, and red onion: his take on aguachile negro, a cousin of ceviche that’s fortified with Maggi. The dish appears on the menu at Mitica for about the same price but in a very different presentation. Four shrimp sit in a pool of lime and blended chiles at the bottom of a small ceramic bowl: Mexican flavors in Greenpoint portions.
Mitica is open from 4 to 10 p.m., Wednesday to Monday.