Werner and Henry’s Hartwood restaurant is in Tulum, a modern community near fifth century C.E. Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
They fled there from the high-pressure atmosphere on New York’s restaurant scene, and created for themselves a place that was largely open to the elements (it has just two and a half walls). It is literally off-the-grid, relying on solar panels and its own generator, and is fully engaged with the local ingredients while determined not to simply copy traditional dishes of the region.
The food they offer in this, their handsome first cookbook, is beautiful, informal, and bright: jicama and orange salad with mint crema; pan-roasted grouper cheeks with radishes and tomatoes; veal chops with red pepper-pomegranate salsa. There’s an entrancing fantasy wound through their story—escape from the rat race, realize your dream—but these two have managed to make it real.
Color photographs throughout. Hardcover.