Fifty is found

A secret can be described as something that is meant to be unknown or unseen by others. It’s a positive when you’re trying to hide something special. A treasure or a gem that only you – and a few people – know about. But, sometimes you have to share a secret for others to appreciate it. The reveal might make even it more valuable.

Located on a side street in New York’s West Village, Fifty is a dining destination that offers new-American fare with a South American twist. Stepping inside, Fifty’s decor is accented with swathes of walnut panelling, leather benches lining the walls, long runs of wall-hung mirrors, indirect lighting that changes the personality of the space (dimmers at night are a romantic respite), with polished terrazzo floors and concrete pillars to juxtapose the warmth of the natural materials.

While there are those who would gladly brunch on the Benedict smoked salmon, spicy tuna avocado toast, and/or the Nutella babka French toast (yum!), the best way to sample the offerings is to make a reservation for dinner.

Before taking a seat at the table, sidle up to the bar and order A Tree Grows on Commerce cocktail (bourbon, oloroso sherry, maple, aromatic bitter, orange blossom fleur de sel) that’s a take on an Old Fashioned, and chill. The next hour, or so, will be well worth the wait.

Not sure what to expect from the menu? Chef Luis Jaramillo showcases local, seasonal ingredients complimented by bold, ethnic flavors from his home country of Ecuador and surrounding South American regions.

If starting with an appetizer, sample the house-made burrata. Crusty sourdough pieces (sided with pistachio pesto, apple, bitter greens) breaks apart the outer layer of the creamy cheese with aplomb. A striped bass crudo (passion fruit, peanuts, scallions, espellete pepper) is thinly sliced and feels like silk.

For a main course, the pan seared Scottish salmon and the grilled hanger steak are classics, but why not try something new? The shrimp and calamari black rice (uni, sofrito, lemon aioli) combines tender fish with rice that has bit of bite. A popular item is the beer braised goat ribs (tomato, quinoa, avocado, sweet plantain); to get the best of out of this plate, take a little of each item on one’s fork and devour it in one bite. Delicious.

Still have room for dessert? A server will inevitably – and wisely – direct you to a sugarless chocolate cake with hand whipped cream, crumbled peanuts and flecks of caramel. It’s light in flavor and texture. Top it off with a glass of Moscato ‘Dindarello’ Maculan or the Mezcal Resolution (Xicaru, celery-calamansi juice, fresh lemon juice, maraschino) and the bill signs itself.

The secret is out. Make your reservation now before they’re fully booked for the next few months.

About The Author

Steven Carver
International Editor

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