Designed to reflect a bistro, John Gray’s Downtown’s is at once stylish and intimate, yet all staged in a comfortable setting for straight-forward ingredient-driven classic fare. Locals and travelers alike will be instantly charmed and intrigued by John Gray’s Downtown’s distinctive approach to ambience, service and classic interpretations that seamlessly fuse innovative presentations, international flavors and ingredient pairings within each selection. “Downtown offers guests a unique, insider experience to mingle with the who’s who of Cancun society, as well as the opportunity to enjoy classic interpretations of bistro cuisine – steak tartar, onion soup gratine and steak frite perfectly done the way you would expect,” says John Gray. He continues, “We are not trying to replicate Mexican cuisine, rather Downtown represents an opportunity to recreate a unique bistro experience that offers diners classic dishes created with the highest quality beef, seafood, what have you, because it’s the superior ingredients that truly set us apart.”
John Gray wanted to recreate a “bistro” atmosphere, reminiscent of a handful of ‘hot’ NYC eateries, that he enjoys frequenting on his trips back to the ‘City.’ Everything from the tiling to the dark wood paneling, the brown suede banquettes to the exposed industrial air conditioning shafts, the large, wood-paned picture windows to the artisan-painted gray columns inspired by the Cartier building in New York City, the rusted iron hanging lamps with Thomas Edison replica light blubs, huge mirrors so that “diners can feel part of the action,” to the giant blackboards featuring Downtown’s menu adorning the walls, echoes the feeling of the “NYC bistro.” The 1560 square foot restaurant seats 120 guests, including the six-seat kitchen bar, 30-seat bar, 53-seat lower dining room and 32-seat upper dining room level. An outdoor lounge is also available for cocktails.
John Gray’s Downtown diners know that they are in for a special experience when they drive up to the restaurant’s city-like and industrial-inspired exterior that features highlights such as a brick wall with a suspended “Downtown” sign stenciled into a metal sheet; the second story of the building covered in galvanized aluminum; and large red awnings created to provide the diners shelter from Cancun’s afternoon sun. Once guests walk through the wooden double doors, they enter Downtown’s upper level dining room, which is an airy space, with a ceiling that features a gray, industrial-sized, air conditioning shaft, burgundy and gray walls, the artisan-painted columns and cozy black-velvet covered Equipales chairs, which is wooden chair design originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. From this dining room, guests may choose to visit the 30 seat bar – located past the restaurant’s 800+ wine Cava and nestled in the back, near the restaurant’s Zapote or gum tree that has been preserved in a perfected landscaped glass atrium.
Downtown’s bararea is a place to delight in wines by the glass, a variety of cocktails and spirits, as well as dine from the menu. Guests can have an aperitif along the bar before their meal; a bite to eat, or simply enjoy a casual drink with a group of friends. The bar area is set in gray, burgundy and cream and is illuminated during the day by a generous offering of sunlight and at dusk, by the John Gray designed rusted-iron hanging ceiling lamps featuring the Thomas Edison replica blubs. Diners will notice that in both the lower dining room, located off the bar and upper dining room, those large mirrors have been set throughout the space to give the room a sense of textured comfort, and allow guests the opportunity to experience all angles of the restaurant. John Gray chose the talents of Argentine interior artist Gustavo Roma to create a harmonious, textured 2x3 meter painting in Downtown’s lower dining room. Also set in the lower dining room, is the Kitchen Bar, which offers diners the opportunity to see the inside workings of an open kitchen to a world-class restaurant and the kitchen staff to become part of the dining experience.