House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC

House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House

The chefs behind the Buenos Aires restaurant brought their celebrated fusion dishes to Soho House New York – including their mouth-watering Katsu Sando

Wednesday 28 September 2022 By Austa Somvichian-Clausen

Arms covered in tattoos and a cheeky grin on his face, Colombian-born chef, Pedro Peña certainly has a unique presence. It’s perhaps only fitting, as he and his business partner Germán Sitz have managed to build somewhat of a restaurant empire in the vibrant Argentine capital of Buenos Aires unlike any before it. 

Since 2014, the two friends have steadily opened food and beverage concepts on one of the hippest streets in the city, called Thames. It started with La Carnicería, a modern approach to the Argentine steakhouse, which is now honored on the World’s 50 Best List. Next came Chori, a choripanería, or casual restaurant that specializes in Argentinian street food and artisan chorizo, which lays claim to three franchises as well as a newly opened location all the way in Madrid, Spain.

Chori isn’t the only one of the duo’s concepts to expand beyond the borders of Argentina, either, as perhaps their most popular restaurant to date—Niño Gordo, plans its move stateside. 

Without an official street marker, the only way to spot Niño Gordo is by the line collecting outside its doors daily, waiting their turn to enter a space flooded by red neon light and to have a taste of Asian-Argentine fusion that had previously been unknown to the city. Peña tells us that before Niño Gordo, Asian restaurants in the city were all much more specialized, but he wanted to unify the flavors and techniques he had learned from his travels, and further mesh them with signature, local Argentine products.  

Beyond the call of food and drink, Peña is refreshingly forthcoming about his initial intentions of building the restaurant to be supremely Instagrammable. 

“When we first started the restaurant I wanted everyone who came in to want to take a selfie and share it on Instagram, which we knew would help the business grow and become popular,” he says. 

When you’re not busy taking photos of floating jellyfish, a lantern hung with ceilings, or cheeky cocktail mugs reminiscence of those found at Japanese izakayas, you might be taking a hearty bite from Niño Gordo’s most popular dish on their menu: the Katsu Sando, a signature dish that places top quality Argentinian steak, tonkatsu and Japanese mayo between two slices of pan brioche bread. The only other place to try the beloved dish was last week at Soho House New York, where the chefs cooked their first official dinner in the Big Apple. 

The multi-course meal took place in the Vinyl Room, connecting members over through lively conversation and flavorful dishes such as Yukhoe, a Korean tartare, featuring sweetbreads that merged chili, miso, corn and akusai, and marinated bonito served in a green sauce.  

If you missed the festivities, you’ll soon be able to get a taste of Niño Gordo’s fusion cuisine in Miami, as they lock in plans to open their Wynwood location next May, just down the street from Soho House’s brand new pool house. 

While Miami’s iteration of Niño Gordo will maintain the restaurant’s signature flair, Peña says he’s excited about the potential to use an even wider range of ingredients on the menu, explaining that it can be extremely difficult to attain certain food products in Argentina. With those limitations removed, the Gordo and Sitz will be in exploration mode, which is lucky for adventurous diners.

“We don’t want to totally copy the restaurant over, so there will be some differences in the space, too. In the back we are planning a speakeasy inspired by the culture of roadside parrillas.”

The culture of the roadside parrilla, or Argentine barbecue truck, is something that has always fascinated Peña. Found dotted or in clusters along the roadways, smoke rises in the air as cooks will sizzle up chorizo or steaks on a hot metal grill. The speakeasy is not inspired by what’s happening on the grill, though, but rather the secret bars that can sometimes be found in the back of the trucks, decorated gaudily and colorfully to entice lively imbibing.

At the bar, expect more flavor fusions that combine pan-Asian ingredients and technique with that of Argentina. While the official cocktail menu is still in the works, the custom cocktails served last week at Soho House New York provides a clue, like the refreshing Matcha Y Sale, made with vodka and a mix of matcha and jasmine tea, or the Cidercar, which blended Hennessey, Suntory, shiso, Cointreau, and apple cider.

For highlights from the dinner, scroll below.

House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
House Nights: Niño Gordo brings Asian-porteño flavours to NYC | Soho House
Interested in becoming a member?