Good Taste: 1492

Good Taste: 1492

Tender, succulent and spectacularly flavorful, the Mayan-inspired cochinita pibil at 1492 is well worth taking a voyage of discovery.


From a common-sense historical standpoint, the federal holiday that falls on the second Monday in October absolutely should be designated as Indigenous People’s Day rather than Columbus Day. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on board with the concept of voyages of discovery – if you’re hungry for something out of the ordinary, I recommend you set sail for 1492 New World Latin Cuisine ASAP.

Whether you wind up at the original at 1207 N Walker in Midtown or the colony (so to speak) in Casady Square at 9213 Penn Place, the menu is the same. And their tacos – fried shrimp, beef barbacoa or the more unusual braised oxtail or duck with plantains – are a treat. For something a bit more substantial, though, try the Cochinita Pibil. The Mayan-style pulled pork is marinated in achiote pepper sauce, baked in an oven for 4.5 hours and wrapped in banana leaves for a subtle hint of additional flavor. It’s rich, juicy and fantastically tender – and spicy in the sense of complex flavor rather than simple heat, especially with a dose of the pickled onions for texture.

I’m not the resident wine expert among the 405 staff, but a glass of the Spanish Tempranillo called Volver is an excellent accompaniment for this dish, as is an order of freshly made guacamole.

Owner Marco Chavez is the developer of recipes such as this the pibil – it’s a new dish at 1492 (although the basic idea for the recipe goes back centuries), and has proved extremely popular already. Plus, the menu should be receiving another slight revamp in mid-October, so this is a perfect time to go exploring in search of a new favorite.