There’s some new flavor in Bushwick: Nicaraguan-inspired Chicha is now open in the ‘hood, by husband and wife team Adam Schneider and Vanessa Palazio, who is of Nicaraguan heritage herself. Featuring traditional Nicaraguan street food and an extensive rum program from Bar Director and Partner Marshall Altier, Chicha – located in a bright, open warehouse space in the heart of Bushwick – has 60 seats and a 20-foot custom-built back bar, and is the neighborhood’s latest spot for cocktails.
“Chicha’s bar is a fun and colorful answer to the austere speakeasy cocktail bar,” explains Altier. “We feature a selection rotating cocktails on draft and handmade specialties that are focused on local and Latin American ingredients as well as offering an array of classic drinks with a focus on rum, and its history in cocktails.”
There are about 100 different sipping rums available, says Altier, “including a number of house blends, and we will continue to grow that number as we expand our educational outreach on behalf of the wide world of sugar cane spirits.” Impressive.
The ambitious beverage program features handmade craft cocktails, draft drinks and the aforementioned rum list, also available as tasting flights, as well as beer and Spanish and Latin American wines. The cocktails have a serious Caribbean and Nicaraguan influence: the Agua-Caté–Dral is a blend of blanco tequila, joven mezcal, Singani 63 and pisco, flash-blended with avocado, lime and sea salt, garnished with cracked-black and pink peppercorns while the Bluefields Swizzle, with Flor de Caña, Oaxacan rum, Haitian Clairin Sajous, Rum Fire Jamaican Overproof, coconut oil, butterfly pea flower, banana liqueur and lime is an Instagram dream.
The Chicha Gin Fizz is made with gin, horchata, pitaya, Aquafaba, cornflower distillate, rose water and soda and the Nitro Cafecito is available on draft, with nitro-charged Flor de Caña 7 year, Amaro, cherry liqueur, cacao and single estate Nicaragua cold brew.
Just like the drinks, the food is inspired by the street-side fritangas and cafetíns that Palazio grew up dining at in Nicaragua: Quesillos, bites served on house-milled corn tortillas with quesillo cheese, plantain vinegar pickled onions and crema, available in four different variations: the classic Tipico; Pollo Desmenuzado, which adds slow cooked chicken; Baho-style Cerdo featuring Baho-style pork braised in Toña beer, naranja agria with palm leaves; and Langosta with seared lobster tail, sea bean slaw and achiote oil, served on a squid ink tortilla.
Don’t miss the Churrasco, a seared skirt steak with salsa jalapeña and Arroz con Pollo Buñuelos, fried balls of slow-cooked pulled chicken with peppers and olives.
198 Randolph Street, Bushwick, NY; 718-366-2114; www.chichanyc.com; @chichanyc