A slice of Manhattan's Upper West Side is coming to the Peterson Companies' Downtown Silver Spring development. New York-based chef Alex Garcia will serve his Latin American cuisine at the second location of AG Kitchen, located within the former Macaroni Grill space on Ellsworth Drive.
"The food is truly based on what I like to eat as a New Yorker, as a chef, and as a Latino. I eat a lot of burgers, surf and turf, and Latin American classics." Garcia told Eater. Like at his first location, the eclectic menu will serve a variety of Latin American, Spanish and American dishes.
"The core of the restaurant— the design and menu— is based on the one in New York City," he says. In fact, the decor at the new restaurant will incorporate the same vibrant, jewel-toned palette of aqua, orange and yellow. There will also be a replica of the original tin ceiling from the New York restaurant. At 8,800 square feet, the spacious restaurant will accommodate up to 200 diners with mostly booth and banquette seating.
Garcia is used to working in tight spaces in New York, and says the size of restaurant will allow for several changes. There will be a private dining room with seating for 24. Facing the pedestrian side, there will a patio with seating for 40 diners, while the Georgia Avenue side will have a quick-service, taqueria area. There's also a dedicated tapas and taqueria kitchen with a brick oven forcazuelas (casseroles from South America).
A larger kitchen means a larger menu. Garcia plans to use the New York menu as a base, but 25 percent of the menu will be dedicated to new items (including one particular item that all out-of-town chefs seem to add to their menu here). "We're hiring a local chef and we'll serve whatever comes out of being down here ... I want there to be a crab cake. That, I promise," he said. There will also be separate taqueria and tapas menus.
The bar area will seat 36 and complement the Latin theme. An island in the middle will display two margarita machines and glass containers filled with sangria. It will also serve caipirinhas, mojitos, and Garcia's own aged Copacabana Rum from Panama. The chef plans to open during the second week of June.