Otra Vez, New Orleans
Akhtar Nawab is chef and owner of Alta Calidad in New York and Otra Vez in New Orleans and advisor at Prather’s on the Alley in D.C. With nearly 25 years of experience, the Kentucky-born chef of Indian heritage has embraced Mexican cuisine, connecting the layered, complex cooking and ingredients of Mexico with the Indian food he grew up eating.
Nawab’s ‘less-is-more’ style of cooking has earned him critical praise throughout the years, from his time under Tom Colicchio at acclaimed restaurants Gramercy Tavern, Craftbar and Craft, to East Village gastropub The E.U., to striking our on his own with Elettaria. Moving towards Mexican cuisine, Nawab took the helm at popular NYC hotspot La Esquina and later as a partner at Choza Taqueria where he explored Mexican street food. In 2017, Nawab opened Alta Calidad in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood where he earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2018 and 2019.
In 2019, Nawab opened Otra Vez and ACTQ in the South Market District in New Orleans and Alta Calidad Taqueria, a more casual version of Alta Calidad serving tacos, tortas and Mexican roti at Time Out Market in downtown Brooklyn. At Otra Vez he continues to build on his refined style of cooking, with dishes rooted in the big, classic flavors associated with Mexican cuisine incorporating the ingredients of Louisiana.
Nawab has been featured in various publications, including Food & Wine, Bon Appétit and Eater, and has appeared on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He was included in acclaimed cookbook Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs (Phaidon, 2009) and will release his first cookbook Good For You, all about his unique take on healthy food, in 2020.