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Chef Spotlight: Chef Yuval Ochoa of BORRACHITO in the East Village

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Chef Spotlight-BORRACITO

Chef Spotlight: Chef Yuval Ochoa of BORRACHITO in the East Village

Borrachito, a modern taqueria, recently opened in the East Village. Previously located in a secret dining room behind The Garret East, the team at Den Hospitality has reinvented their popular Mexican speakeasy following an extensive renovation. Borrachito will reopen in the front section of the property, offering a newly curated menu of traditionally-prepared Mexican tacos, sides, and cocktails with unexpected twists.

Since its initial launch in 2018, Borrachito's tacos by Chef Yuval Ochoa have gained a cult following among The Garret's clientele. When The Garret was forced to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Den Hospitality team seized the opportunity to redesign the space and move Borrachito to a street-facing position, which had long been the goal. The menu, created by Chef Ochoa, blends traditional Mexican cooking practices with experimental ingredients. Borrachito provides a fresh and fun reinvention of the classic taco, offering distinctive flavors.

Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Yuval Ochoa OF Borrachito for our "Chef Spotlight."

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

My earliest interest in cooking was when I was around nine or ten and I spent my vacations in my grandmother's ranch. All our activities there had to do with food in some way, whether we were fishing, hunting, picking corn in the fields, helping my aunts make tortillas by hand. I learned very soon there was a connection between the farm and the people, and how great food translates into even more meaningful family gatherings and great memories.

Who were some of your career mentors?

The elders in my family were my first culinary teachers growing up. From them, I learned the basis of Mexican cuisine, from tortillas to salsas and other more complex preparations like lamb barbacoa or large fish stews. Later on, I worked with great chefs all around the world, where I picked up more refined techniques and widened my knowledge in the kitchen. But in the end, it's all about the same principles of respecting the product and the procedures. That is what I try to bring to Borrachito.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?

At Borrachito, our menu blends traditional Mexican cooking practices with experimental ingredients. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the menu I created celebrates the regional Mexican cooking that I grew up with. Many of the dishes are inspired by my family recipes, and are centered around masa tortillas and grilled meats. The recipes from our new menu in particular were inspired by the guest favorite specials we offered at the speak-easy for a limited time.

Our tacos and sides utilize the best local ingredients we can find, with the ultimate goal that "everything has to be fresh." We make all of our tortillas by hand daily, using nixtamal (dried corn treated in an alkaline solution) which is delivered from a local masa company that sources organic corn from upstate New York.

We provide a fresh and fun reinvention of the classic taco, with dishes such as our El Gringo con Bone Marrow (rib eye, bone marrow, smoked cheddar), Gobernador Shrimp (melted cheese, roasted peppers, onions), and Wild Mix Mushroom (chipotle, queso fresco).

What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?

I have traveled quite a bit over the years and ended up living in many different countries, which I think made me extremely curious about other cultures and their cuisines. With Borrachito, we always try to stay authentic to the roots of Mexican cooking, but you will find a little twist of something I picked up during my travels every now and then!

What is your favorite meal or meals?

I eat everything that is good and cooked with care, which is why I love New York's food so much. Here you will find everything from pizza to sushi, all made by someone who really cares and respects the craft. But the truth is, that I eat tacos at least three times a week.

Chef Spotlight: Chef Yuval Ochoa of BORRACHITO in the East Village

Tell us a little more about your restaurant.

We officially reopened Borrachito, which was previously the Mexican speakeasy located in a secret dining room behind The Garret East, on August 26th, in the front section of the property (206 Avenue A). The reinvented version of the restaurant offers our guests an updated menu inspired by my childhood growing up in Guadalajara, with signature tacos (El Gringo con Bone Marrow, Gobernador Shrimp, Wild Mix Mushroom, and more), sides (including Watermelon with Tajin & Chamoy, and Black Borracho Beans with Queso Fresco & Pico de Gallo), cocktails and more. We currently offer 20 seats available for al fresco dining, and ample room for indoor service (once permitted in NYC). We offer takeout and delivery as well, and we recently installed a street-facing taco window, perfect for our guests to grab and go!

Borrachito is located at 2016 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009. For more information, please visit: http://borrachitonyc.com/.

Photo Credit: @fohny, Left to Right - Adam Fulton, Yuval Ochoa, and Gavin Moseley



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