For those that haven't yet seen the Chef's Table episode on Enrique Olvera & his flagship restaurant Pujol, perhaps open a new browser and head over to Netflix and watch the episode. Chef's Table will give you a far better representation of the chef, the restaurant, and the overall ethos of the place.
Arriving at Pujol, the facade is stark, slatted wooden walls with two long narrow windows, hiding the awesomeness lying within. You are greeted outside by a smiling doorman who was super friendly and chatted with us for a few minutes before we proceeded into the restaurant. The foyer has a midcentury feel, with chunky wooden built-ins holding books and pottery accented by a couple chairs and pillows. We were immediately swept into the main dining space - black walls, low lights beaming directly on the collection of wooden or white tableclothed tables, and colorful flowers in Heath Ceramic Bud Vases (even in Mexico there's a piece of home). The overall ambiance is sleek and classy, yet understated.
Menus are already on the table when you arrive, sealed in an envelope with an orange wax stamp. 6 courses, starting with a collection of snacks that everyone in the party can enjoy, followed by 3 courses where you can select among 4 options (one is always a veggie option), followed by the well known Mole Madre (1175 days in my case) course, and lastly the "Happy Ending" aka dessert feast. Each course was well composed and delicious, while maintaining a wholly Mexican flavor and brightness.
Chicharron gordita, catarino chile, pico de gallo, uni
Milpera squash chileatole, mulato chile
Chia and avocado chicharron
Baby corn, chicatana ant, coffee, costeno chile mayonnaise (This came in a smoking vessel that had a wonderful earthy smell. If you've seen the Chef's Table episode you know this dish.)
Dry beef tartar, preserved lemon, radish, watercress, avocado
Suckling pig taco, smoked tortilla, chickpea puree, coriander, red jalapeno (All I can say is this was the greatest taco of my life, no big deal.)
Catch of the day, beurre noisette, potato, lemon mayonnaise, celery (A perfect balance of fresh, flaky fish accented with a burst of citrus, a bit of crunch and earthy-ness from the kale, and some starch from the potato. This was by far one of my favorite fish dishes I've had in the last few years - served with tortillas so you can make more tacos!)
Mole Madre 1175 Days, Mole Nuevo (One of the most well known dishes served at Pujol, the mole is wildly complex in flavor & ingredients, yet at the same time the dish is presented in the most purist & simple way. What can I say? Total genius.)
Happy Ending (a collection of desserts including churros, avocado ice cream, fruit, and more)
All in all it was a very leisurely and enjoyable dining experience that I was sad to leave. The service was efficient and friendly, and the meal as a whole was quite memorable (I'm still dreaming about that taco). I highly recommend a visit for any foodie folk or even non foodie folk visiting Mexico City (be sure to make a reservation in advance). If you can't make it all the way to Mexico, check out Olvera's restaurant in New York City, Cosme.
**Pujol will be moving to a new location in a few short weeks, so the descriptions of the ambiance & restaurant aesthetic will not match the new, I imagine, much improved venue**