Carmen Ramírez Degollado’s husband helped open El Bajío in Mexico City in 1972, and when he died a few years later, Mrs. Ramírez Degollado, known as Titita, took over the restaurant. Since 2006, El Bajío has opened 18 more family restaurants, known for serving food from Veracruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Yucatán. Now she is 83 and two of her grandsons, Santiago Ramírez Degollado and Sebastián Ramírez Degollado, who live in New York, pay this tribute to her. It is the first restaurant outside of Mexico for the family behind the El Bajío company, in a simple, understated space, decorated with rustic elegance. Clay pots along one wall. The menu features a variety of tacos and includes duck tostadas, plantain empanadas, enchiladas de mole Xico, Veracruz-style fish, and shrimp in a charred chipotle sauce. Desserts include a warm corn cake with ice cream. The group’s executive chef, Josep Rivera, will spend a few weeks oiling the wheels before returning to Mexico, and the wine list will feature several Mexican wines. (Open Thursday)
114 Franklin Street (West Broadway), 917-540-5500, casacarmennyc.com.
O Ya, Covina and the Roof Bar, the Park South Hotel restaurants run by Tim and Nancy Cushman of Boston, will be closed in 2020. Sweetbriar, which opened last fall, replaced Covina. Now the Sweetbriar team, with the TH/RST Group and its executive chef Bryce Shuman, are opening this spot in the former O Ya space, named after a Tokyo neighborhood densely populated with bars and restaurants. GG Tokyo offers an a la carte menu that is Japanese in its approach, but based on the French training of Mr. shuman. Dishes include spicy salmon rolls with potato and Serrano peppers, Japanese-style fried chicken with tartar sauce, Wagyu sushi with chili crisp and chives. Drinks play an important role, and Japanese ingredients give flavor to some of bar manager Ivan Papic’s cocktails. (Wednesday)
120 East 28th Street, 212-204-0200, ggtokyo.nyc.
Mae Mae Cafe
Liz Neumark’s Great Performances, a catering and restaurant management company, has opened this plant-based, Latin-inspired cafe on the ground floor of its Bronx headquarters. Tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, filled primarily with ingredients grown on Mrs. Neumark’s Katchkie Farm in the Hudson Valley, are served. Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., houseplants are also sold. (Wednesday)
2417 Third Avenue (East 134th Street), Mott Haven, Bronx, 212-337-6098.
Ellington in the park
Surrounded by greenery in Riverside Park, this open-air restaurant has reopened for the season, serving dishes like a quinoa bowl, fried chicken sandwich with Asian slaw and Sriracha aioli, and plenty of ice cream. It is run by Glenda Sansone, who owns Ellington on Broadway nearby. (Monday)
Riverside Park, West Side Highway at 105th Street, 917-280-4533, ellingtoninthepark.com.