La Cosecha, the Northeast D.C. market full of Latin American food and drink vendors, has added a coastal Mexican kitchen and cocktail bar serving colorful toasts, salads, and refined seafood dishes.
Las Gemelas Cocina Mexicana, the second piece of a two-part project from the restaurant group behind Espita Mezcaleria in Shaw, opened for brunch and dinner today (Friday, March 26). The pebble-lined bar is on the opposite end of La Cosecha from weeks-old Taqueria Las Gemelas. Both businesses are lined with patio space and separate entrances. Brunch (9 a.m. to noon) and a day-long happy hour (until 6 p.m.) both run every day. A lunch/dinner menu is available noon to 10 p.m.
The cocina focuses on lighter fare that requires more “finesse” than the volume-minded taqueria, chef-partner Rob Aikens says.
“For us, the Cocina Mexicana, that’s more like coastal Southern Mexican fare,” co-owner Josh Phillips says. “How do we like to eat at a hidden beach resort?”
A selection of toasts includes a thought-out take on avocado toast made with crushed avocado, pickled onion, salsa macha oil, cilantro, and egg. Griddled sourdough also acts as the base for a bright orange carrot hummus.
A roughly 100-bottle library of imported Mexican liquor swings from the expected (tequilas and mezcals) to surprising (agave gin, whiskey, and amaro). A wall of wines play up Latin American labels from Bolivia and Baja’s California’s Valle de Guadalupe region. Eight wines are available by the glass. Jose Cox — a respected D.C. mixologist from Veracruz who’s worked at Oyamel, barmini by José Andrés, and McClellan’s Retreat — is working at both bars under beverage director James Simpson.
“I want every single person who comes through to feel comfortable and like they’re on vacation in Mexico City or Puerto Vallarta,” Cox says.
All of Simpson’s cocktails are between $10 and $12. Select drinks run $4 to $7 at happy hour. The biggest steal of the bunch is a $4 glass of tea punch that rotates ingredients daily with a spirit, fruit, citrus, and bitters. The large punch bowl equates to 20 to 30 drinks, says Cox, and when it’s gone it’s gone. A draft system is put to work for a short list of cocktails and hot and cold nitro coffee made with Counter Culture beans. The indoor/outdoor setup can fit about 60 patrons during full occupancy (about 26 with current COVID-19 protocols).
Updated March 26, 2021, 5 p.m.: This story has been corrected to reflect that James Simpson is the beverage director who developed the cocktail menu, daily servings of punch are 20-30 glasses, and daily happy hour runs until 6 p.m.