Latin fusion eats and meticulously crafted cocktails

They say that you should always test the waters before you jump in, which makes sense, as who really knows where John's creepy, pencil thin 'stache has been? Thoroughly testing the resto waters before diving into their own permanent gig, the dudes behind the Playa.

Playa's a new shared-plate Latin-fusion date spot featuring dangling, loofa-like light fixtures and a massive, ladder-necessary wall of booze, all from the guy behind downtown's lauded resto Rivera and a former Comme Ca mixologist who honed the menu together at the now-closed, constant pop-up spot Test Kitchen, also what it says on Carnie Wilson's to-do list every day. Grub is eclectically influenced by the Latin world, as well as the Southwest and India, and includes unique deliciousness like skate wing w/ tamarind-cinnamon gastrique and red lentils w/ chorizo, arroz con pato (rice w/ duck confit, baby vegetable pickles, & micro cilantro), and a slew of "maize cakes", which're essentially homemade soft tacos stuffed w/ "black garlic & olive 'soil'" and pork belly confit, all served on custom-made plates featuring scenes from the chef's childhood, which he calls "reflexiones", and you call "plates". Drinkwise, they've got crazy options like the mezcal/ roasted tomato/ sage/ pimenton d'Espelette "A Oaxacan The Clouds"; the apple-and-wine laden "The Grail"; and the double aged rum/ galangal/ kaffir lime tincture/ bitter lemon "Spice Trade" -- also what they called it when they traded Sporty for WNBA superstar Sue Bird, and nobody on either side noticed.

They're opening tonight, but rezzies are hard to come by...except for Thrillist readers, who've got exclusive rights to the mid-room common table for the next day, w/ preferential treatment for the next week -- so act fast to snag yours, as going without would be A Dirty Shame.