Fifty New York | EcuaYorker: Best of both sides
When fifty and fifty gives you more than one hundred…
Located in West Village of New York City at 50 Commerce Street, Fifty brings a personalized mixture and twist of new-American and South American to the neighborhood. As the chef-partner of Fifty, Luis Jaramillo, who hails from Ecuador and has immigrated to New York and has lived here since for over twenty years, completely takes the best of each of the two worlds to create a unique culinary experience for everyone. He sets out to share his stories and celebrate his culture as he takes his guests on a customized Ecuadorian trip through each dish on the restaurant’s seasonal menu.
Upon entering the restaurant, the classical yet elegant interior design with modern elements accompanied by a calm and relaxed atmosphere immediately captures your attention. It certainly enhances the overall dining experience.
Starting with one of the snacks, Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs, it was simply delicious. This snack contains and relates to chef Jaramillo’s childhood story of a boy fishing by the water as a kid and the fish caught would be used for this snack. The Chorizo stuffed Green Plantain Empanadas are made with no flour, therefore making it gluten-free. These bites are starchy, unlike your typical empanadas, and when chorizo blends in with each bite, it truly is an enjoyable snack, one eaten by the coast according to the chef.
The Striped Bass Crudo is presented beautifully with the striped bass placed over a sea of passion fruit sauce and topped with candied peanuts, scallions and chili powder. Citruses are usually used for ceviche but the use of passion fruit as the sauce of this appetizer was because the fruit is very popular and plays an important role in the rainforest. The chili powder gives it an extra kick of spiciness and the sauce perfectly balanced out the spice and provided a tangy and tarty taste to each bite. Also, no one really uses peanuts with raw fish. But the decision to do so added a crunch to the layers of textures, and overall, giving it a very charming aroma and flavors that no one can reject or resist.
The Grilled Mediterranean Octopus is served with octopus tentacles laying over mash potatoes. The octopus tentacles are mixed and brushed with spices, inspired by the idea from the skewers sold on the streets in Ecuador. The skewers are usually served with onions and peppers. The Shrimp “Encocao”, shrimp in coconut milk with infused lemongrass and pepper, quinoa, and plenty of garlic. The coconut milk-ginger broth is undeniably amazing and leaves you wanting more after each bite.
For entrees, the Shrimp and Calamari Black Rice displayed the bringing back to life of a diminishing family tradition. The black rice is chef Jaramillo’s take on the crispy rice, Cocolon, which sticks to the bottom of the pot when his mom or grandma cooks. In Ecuador, there is a tradition where the crispy rice is saved and served to a lucky person at the table. He aims to bring back this homey dish with the addition of extremely fresh ingredients like shrimp, calamari and uni.
One of the desserts is a homey rendition of flan, something that everyone in Ecuador loves and enjoys. The other dessert is a chocolate cake made from Ecuadorian cacao fino de aroma, one of the best cacaos in the world.
The menu of Fifty has been infiltrated and infused deeply with stories and heritage of chef Luis Jaramillo. He has extracted interesting aspects of where he’s from and what he has experienced as a kid and intertwined it with a new-American fare, creating a menu that “showcases local, seasonal ingredients complemented by bold, ethnic flavors from his home country and surrounding South American regions.”
This Ecuadorian-American culinary experience is extremely successful and pleasurable, knowing that it is the best of both backgrounds; something truly innate and special, like the blood and DNA that runs through and defines a person, and sharing that with a new and distant audience using innovative techniques, seasonal and fresh products.