Archive for the 'kosher tapas bar' 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

27
Apr
12

Chef’s Profile – Ladino’s Alexandre Petard


Chef Alexandre Petard from Ladino – Tapas Bar and Grill (940 Eighth Avenue, between 56th and 55th Street in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle area), never imagined himself as anything other than a Chef. At 14, he began cooking in his father’s French restaurants and continued his formal training in his native France.

After graduation, Alexandre moved on to the UK – spending several years polishing his English and honing his culinary skills in various cuisines and techniques. Returning to France, he became French Defense Minister’s Chef; he followed that stint by coming to New York to further perfect his skills – in 1996 – where he expected to stay for only eighteen months. Although he was expected to return to France to run his father’s restaurants… he’s still here, luckily for us!

Locally, Chef Alexandre has worked at such prestigious prestigious as Jean Georges, Lespinasse, and Les Halles. In the kosher scene, he ran the prestigious kitchens of the Boxtree (probably New York’s foremost French restaurant, in its day) and La Carne Grill. Using vision built on years of talent and expertise, Ladino‘s concept was born; Alexandre was convinced that for an eatery to succeed in Manhattan – in a high rent, high expectation district – the establishment has to be more than just a place to eat.

Customers want ambiance in the restaurants they frequent. They want to be entertained, to be seduced by its good food and pleasant atmosphere. To create an environment reflective of his vision, Ladino‘s walls are painted in Mexican like adobe, adorned with Diego Rivera frescoes – painted by Uruguayan artist, Alex Morales. Resuming after Shavuot, musicians Hernan Romero (on guitar) and Carmen Estevez (as the percussionist), will provide live music (instrumentals only!) every motzey Shabbat.

As you will hear on our broadcast next Wednesday, at 8:00pm (Eastern Time), Chef Alexandre Petard has put a lot of thought and effort in creating an authentic atmosphere at Ladino. His dream was to create a place that attracts Jews of all degrees of religiosity as well as non-Jews who want to enjoy the unique flavors of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese cuisines and experience the distinctive atmosphere of such a locale. In this, he has succeeded.

CS




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