Michelin Stars: 1
Address: 285 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
Mexican food has somehow largely been overlooked among New York’s fine-dining restaurants. You’ll find no shortage of great American, French and even Chinese restaurants with Michelin stars to their name, but the great Mexican venues seem to go unappreciated. Thankfully Claro bucks that trend. Getting a Michelin star has taken an unconventional approach to Mexican food though; the head chef of Claro is T. J. Steele, who is decidedly not Mexican.
Have no fears about authenticity though – Steele spent time living in Oaxaca, during which he immersed himself in the culture and cuisine of his host nation. He celebrates that cuisine here in this quirky and unconventional restaurant, which does away with the sometimes-pristine environment of Michelin-awarded restaurants and instead focuses on providing a warm, family-friendly atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, Claro is very popular with young hipsters.
You always hope for a great experience with spice when you go to a Mexican restaurant, and Claro doesn’t disappoint. The beef tongue might be the best example, which comes served with diced onion and a spicy salsa for the perfect heat-and-flavor balance. Almost everything you order will come from a wood-fired griddle, which you can see in operation from every seat in the room. Just be warned that the fascination with heat extends to dessert. If you were counting on your final course of the evening bringing the temperature in your mouth down, think again. While you’re here, though, try the moles. You won’t be disappointed.