37 East 28th Street
Just on the heels of the Spain’s 10 Event at the FCI, and having had a taste of some really good tapas there, I had a hankering for some more. Aside from the fact that the restaurant just recently was ranked the #3 best new restaurant in the newly published 2007 ZAGAT survey, I had heard many good things about Alex Ureña’s food through a number of sources, including my friend Daisy Martinez who told me quite bluntly in her Brooklyn way, “his food is off the hook” and I had to go and try it, post haste.
This particular Thursday evening at the restaurant though was the monthly meeting of the Brazilian Society, and it was going to feature $5 tapas and $6 Caipirinhas at the bar made with the very good and artisanally made Fazenda Mae de Ouro Cachaça. I don’t need much of an excuse to drink Caipirinhas on a Thursday night, much less eat the cuisine of a former sous chef at Bouley and Blue Hill.
Ureña’s storefront. Originally when the restaurant first opened, it was highly criticised by having a too bright interior, because the ceilings and the walls were painted all the same bright white color. This has now all been fixed and Ureña has very intimate lighting and the dark ceiling contrasts with the walls quite nicely.
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more photos of Ureña.
Main dining room
Bunuelos, a type of fried cheese puff.
Ropa Vieja tapas, which have confit duck and foie gras in them. Mmmm.
Patatas Bravas, fried potatoes with a spicy aoli on them.
Thinly sliced Chorizo with Red Wine with olives, peppers and pickled garlic.
Jamon y Queso, mini ham and cheese paninis.
Tuna (Raw and Cooked) on crostini
Cachaca Dave demonstrates proper Serrano eating technique.
Salchichon, a type of Spanish salami.
This came with Dave’s order of Salchichon.
Can’t have nice tapas without bread to go with it.
Asparagus soup shooter.
Shrimp with Manchego Arroce (similar to Risotto) with Saffron Espuma, ordered off the regular menu.
Diver Scallops with Caviar over Artichoke Puree and Beet Vinaigrette, a main dish.
Petit Fours: White Chocolate Lollipops and Passion Fruit Jelly
Alex was actually co-chef at Blue Hill when it opened. He’s also headed up a couple of other restaurants after Blue Hill and before opening his own place. Thus it was no surprise to find the food at Ureña quite well conceived and executed when it opened. Nor is it any surprise for me to see photographs that indicate he’s continuing to develop his style nicely.
The ropa vieja tapas look great. It’s rewarding to see a chef inspired, but not limited, by traditional dishes.
In spite of the high “best new restaurant rating,” I hear reservations are not that hard to get. In a city where diners are content to book six weeks in advance for a table at a good neighborhood restaurant, Ureña may well be remarkable find–a restaurant worth booking well advance, that doesn’t require that kind of planning.
Not that you asked, but if you’re ever looking for the “artisanally made Fazenda Mae de Ouro Cachaça”, the bottle I have was bought at LeNell’s in Red Hook after a “tasting” she held a couple of months ago.
Much more Spanish than the meal I ate there a year or so ago. By the way, “salchicon” not “salpicon”.
Thanks Wilf. Fixed.
Me encanta que un restaurante tenga mi mismo apellido relamente estoy descubriendo nuevos parientes no sabia que habia un restaurante de algun pariente seguramente! saludos..