Archive for the 'Ceviche de Atun' Category

15
May
12

Viva Mexico! – Ladino Tapas Bar and Grill


Ayyy, que Churro! * I don’t mean the guy, I mean the churro. I know it’s putting ‘last food forward’, but it was my first churro, and it was – out of this world – delectable, what with its delicately soft center and doubly crispy sugary brown dough dermis.  It makes donuts and Chanukah ponchkes a distant also-ran. CS, who waxes nostalgic when prompted by food, especially Latino food, said he grew up on churros at home in Uruguay, I ‘d have been a South American version of Violet turning Violet at Wonka’s factory,  -a blimpy rolly- poly rotundness with an insatiable appetite for doughy decadent sweet sticks conveniently available at the corner street vendor, que problema! – and  so it was for CS as he re-tells his post-holocaust youth where a fat kid was a healthy, happy thriving kid-but I digress…
We walked into Ladino’s at 4:30 – about a half hour before dinner service officially begins, and the place was already filling up with cosmopolitan looking clientele looking to chat and chill at a place that already felt local and homey, though it just opened recently. I warmed to the burnt siennas, brown adobe and soft pillar candle lighting; the Diego Rivera/Alex Morales artwork, the modern spatulate flatware and artifact looking serving dishes, like the volcanic rock four legged guacamole bowl, gave the place an organic, native, Aztec feel.

The only tables available by the time we left at 6:30…

We asked Chef Alex Petard to surprise us with his choices, and were served ceviche de atún and ceviche de red snapper, the former in a nice lemon sauce, the latter in a more mayonnaise base. the crunch of the slawed red green and yellow peppers, the quality of the fish and combined flavorful sauces be-sided with  awesome guacamole and chips made  a palate whetting beginning.  The accompanying cilantro and the tomato dips were spiced’ just right, dipping well with all that followed.  
Spicy chicken wings followed, while the outer crispness was perfect, the meat was a bit dry. A plate with three succulent taquitos (veal breast, chicken, and beef) was brought us; I especially liked the red tomatillo sauce on the chicken taquito.  All three were good, but to my taste, the chicken  taquito was most piquant. The veal and beef taquitos, though texturally different , tasted somewhat similarly and were perked up by the fresh lime provided that CS squeezed onto them; the home made taquitos were perfect.
Tamales with chicken and green tomatillo came next, the look authentic-laid out organically on a corn leaf; the taste  interesting but bland – too heavily starched- insufficient contrasting sauce and/or spicy flavoring though it had potential.

Dessert, made by Pastry Chef Jose Leon, was incredible! Between the churros  9mentioned above) the vanilla flan covered with coconut shavings, good latte and espresso, the meal ended with memorable parting flavors.

Vanilla flan with coconut shavings… Delicioso!

The wine (Lan Zur Merlot 2011)  young, with overpowering tannins and a bitter end  to my taste, became  more tolerable as it had time to aerate during the various courses. Service by Jeff was impeccable and most attentive; he described each dish in good detail and did small big things like wipe the table clean during service; it certainly was above and beyond the call of duty!

All in all, CS did not exaggerate in his praise of Ladino, yesterday’s early tasty dinner corroborated it. I liked the chilled munch and chat atmosphere and look forward to coming back on a motzey Shabbat, after Shavuot, when live Latino guitar music will be featured!

SYR

* Latin American expression for a very handsome guy

RELATED POSTS

Ladino Tapas Bar and Grill – Just Opened and Kosher for Passover
Chef’s Profile – Ladino’s Alexandre Petard
Tomorrow Evening’s Radio Show with Chef Alexandre Petard

06
Apr
12

Ladino Tapas Bar and Grill – Just Opened and Kosher for Passover


Located at 940 8th Avenue (between 56th and 55th Street) in the Columbus Circle area of Manhattan, Ladino is set to become a new jewel on the crown of New York City’s superb kosher restaurants.

Ladino opened its doors last week on Thursday, this past Tuesday evening I decided to try it out. As I walked in, I was immediately struck by its beautifully themed décor, that blended the modern with a traditional but upscale Mexican ambiance.

The very talented Alex Morales (a fellow Uruguayan), was finishing his reproductions of two Diego Rivera murals:

The unfinished Flower Vendor is on the left and El Vendedor de Alcatraces (Calla Lilies) is on the right. The décor was completed with antiqued, floral, copper ceiling tiles.

There is a nice modern themed bar at the back but, because Ladino opened ready for Pessach, it only offered wine (mevushal) selections, no beer, no liquor.

I came in as soon as they opened for dinner at 5:00pm, so as to make sure there would be few people to get in the way of my taking photos of the place, by the time I left at around 7:30pm it was starting to fill up.

Under the direction of Alexandre Petard (who was the extraordinary opening chef at the late, lamented, La Carne Grill) – who has a noteworthy record of having worked at some of New York’s most celebrated restaurants, such as Jean Georges, Lespinasse and Les HallesLadino offers a nice selection of Tapas (hot and cold), appetizers and main courses.

I started the evening with Guacamole and Yuka chips…

It was the best guacamole I’ve had in quite a while, very flavorful without extra spices that could detract from the delicate taste. I went on to try samplings of the Ceviche de Atun (Tuna), Ceviche de Salmon, and Ceviche de Red Snapper. None of them showed any fishiness in either flavor or odor, I liked all three. Obviously they were very fresh!

I washed it all down with a Binyamina Chardonnay 2011. It was a medium bodied, fresh, fruity, aromatic wine with notes of pear, melon and citrus peel. Light gold with a slight greenish tint in color, though not my favorite choice (perhaps because of its youth) it actually matched the ceviches quite well.

I segued with Pincho Moreno, a set of chicken and beef skewers hot Tapas dish. It normally comes with a house mayonnaise (made to perfection by the French chef!), but I requested a bit of guacamole as well.

While the mayonnaise was my favorite, the guacamole provided an interesting taste variation to the very tender, very juicy, very flavorful poultry and beef skewers. Beautiful to the eye, as you can see above.

My favorite of the evening, since I am a carnivore to the core, was the Steak a la Cazuela

Nicely presented in a cast iron pan seating on a trivet, the steak pieces were surrounded and topped with mixed peppers, onion, mushrooms and guacamole. The aroma was captivating, the juiciness and flavor conjured up the tastiest steaks I’ve tasted in my youth in Uruguay. With the vegetables having absorbed some of the meat juices, the totality of this dish worked like a carefully orchestrated symphony under the baton of one of the world’s great conductors. I washed down these two meat dishes with a glass of red wine consisting of a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petite syrah. I did not get the name nor the vintage but it was very fruity in its aroma, with strong citrus notes, not so perfectly balanced tannins (again, a young wine), with hints of purple plum and a mild tobacco with a long finish. Interestingly, it paired superbly well with the steak.

I crowned the evening with a very nice, parve, mango ice cream (complements of Chef Alexandre… It pays to be among the first customers at a new restaurant!). It was hard to believe it contained no milk, but the ability to substitute is part and parcel of a real French chef’s magic.

A perfect place to go out to during chol hamo’ed. As for me, I expect to return after Pessach to see what the regular menu, with far fewer limitations, will be like.

Meanwhile…

Chag kasher vesame’ach!

CS




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