Fort Greene has French bistros, Italian
trattorias and Mexican watering holes, but Nuevo Latino?
In July, Vivian Torres and Pedro Munoz, former Pratt architecture students and residents of the neighborhood, re-lit the fire that was sputtering on Nuevo Latino cooking - a vibrant amalgamation of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Argentinean, Peruvian, Colombian and Caribbean cuisines that began in the early 1990s - with Luz, a Pan-Latino eatery on Vanderbilt Avenue.
Instead of the gaudy party atmosphere that was indicative of the Nuevo Latino aesthetic, the two transformed a former carriage house-cum-garage into a sleek, dining room with a sky light, comfortable banquettes and a long wooden bar.
They’ve installed chef Jorge Adriazola, formerly of Chicama in Manhattan, where he worked with the "Godfather of Nuevo Latino cooking," Douglas Rodriguez. Adriazola offers a menu of bright, lightened Latino dishes. (Luz, pronounced "loose," is the Spanish word for light.)
Diners can begin a meal with the "Luz colada," made with passion fruit instead of the traditional pineapple, and sip their drink with an appetizer of "mejillones al cilantrillo," mussels steamed with dry white wine and garlic that are topped with cilantro and lime juice; or try the "coco tuna," tuna ceviche in coconut milk flavored with lemongrass, ginger and jalapeno peppers.
Afterward, they can salsa their way to an entree of "lechon asado," a Cuban dish of slow-roasted pork with garlic sauce. For dessert, there’s "tembleque" (pictured), a coconut cream custard with pineapple salad and strawberry sauce served in a martini glass. When summer warms Fort Greene’s leafy streets, diners can sip their mojitos at a sidewalk table in front of the restaurant.
Luz (177 Vanderbilt Ave. between Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Avenue) accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. Entrees: $14-$22. The restaurant serves dinner daily and weekend brunch, from 11 am to 3:30 pm. For more information, call (718) 246-4000.