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Nuevo Latino..Whose got it the best?

Steve Nov 29, 1999 11:03 PM

It's my birthday next week, and would like to try this new Latino cuisine...I am a huge fan of cuban food (having grown up in Miami), and love Spanish Food (I am a huge Paella and shrimp w/green sauce fan)...and I like pretty ecletic combinations...so I am thinking this sounds like a cool idea...Would love to hear some more thoughts on Calle Ocho (read the posts that I could find here already)...what about Bistro Latino (heard they have a goat cheese cheescake), and Sonora-I think they are restaurants that are owned by Rafael Palomino a chef who I saw on the Cooking with Amy Coleman show on PBS on sunday, hawking his new Bistro Latino cookbook...If anyone has been to these places, can you elaborate on the menu a bit more and dishes tried...I love seafood-shellfish of any kind....shrimp...and spicy!

Thankyou for your help!

  1. j
    Jared Dec 1, 1999 07:54 PM

    There's a little hole-in-the-wall place in the East Village called Flor's Kitchen. Its not the best Latino food in the City, but its pretty damn good and pretty damn cheap...Venezuelan food. The meat empenadas are very flavorful and they have this (sweet) corn pancake dish that will rock you world.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Jared
      Jeremy Dec 1, 1999 09:02 PM

      What's the address for Flor's Kitchen?

      1. re: Jared
        Jim Leff Dec 2, 1999 01:35 AM

        Jared--would I be a bad host if I chime in and say that I'm not at all a fan of Flor's Kitchen? Sorry...I just really think the food's blah. For similar stuff (though at MUCH greater expense), I like another Eric Asimov find, Campo (on Greenwich Ave) MUCH better.

        Have you tried this place yet?

        1. re: Jim Leff
          Cathy Dec 2, 1999 11:31 AM

          Yes, I LOVE Campo. The Columbian chicken stew thing is amazing. And I've had great breakfasts there, too.


          1. re: Jim Leff
            arun Jul 18, 2000 06:08 PM

            Jim, Does Bolo (on 22nd B'way/Park) qualify as Neuvo Latino?
            I'm a big fan.

            1. re: arun
              jen kalb Jul 18, 2000 06:37 PM

              Hey, Arun, what do you like at Bolo? The one meal I had there started with a terrific appetizer but went downhill thereafter to a bland entree and a rock bottom dessert - some kind of dry sponge cake with fruit. I havent been tempted to return.

              I agree that Campagna is excellent - had a wonderful mixed grill there that left the others in my party drooling in envy, and the food/italian authenticity factor was high.

              I personally have never had a less than delicious lunch at Patria - and my most recent (post-Rodriguez) was the best (their prix fixe is top value). I have high hopes for Chicama and the space is wonderful, but my one meal there was not at the level of Patria's best. (Anticuchos were great, special chicken with yuca or something was competent but unexciting, and the starch accompanying it, sort of like a grey variation on potato salad, was heavily garlicked but nevertheless sort of flavorless - the spread for bread was somewhat interesting (a little fishy?) but lacked oomph, nothing of the impact of the garlic/sour cream butter mash on the corn/fennel bread offered at Patria. I will return to try the ceviches and their fancy drinks.

              Have you tried Ribollita yet?

              1. re: arun
                Jim Leff Jul 18, 2000 11:52 PM

                Never been to Bolo. But my definition of nuevo latino is any restaurant with both tostones and the Gypsy Kings.

            2. re: Jared
              Michelle Jan 8, 2000 01:25 PM

              By and far....Patria...I'm even surprised that I havent seen it metioned at all. Undoubtedly, small neighborhood joints such as flor's Kitchen and Campo(which I am actually not familiar with) are extremely satisfying and my cravings usually lead me to such places. Latino cuisine, however, is not soley represented by them....Patria, Solera, Calle Ocho and others like it are are more worhty of the contest. The food at Patria is a sophisticated and exciting adaptation of typical Latino cooking. Try it!

              1. re: Michelle
                Gary Cheong Jan 8, 2000 09:01 PM

                Not sure how long Patria can stay at the top without Doug Rodriguez, unless they can replace him with someone just as talented and inventive.

                I can't wait for the opening of Doug's new place Unico.

                1. re: Gary Cheong
                  michelle Jan 15, 2000 05:13 PM

                  You've got a point. So far I haven't heard any negative comments....and I understand that the sous-chef is extremely talented...(and we know who really does all the work). But, did you here he is collaborating on a cebicheria just blocks away from Patria called Chimaca?(I think that's the name).I'm anxious to try it.....by the way...have you seen the space for Unico? It's gorgeous.

                  1. re: michelle
                    Gary Cheong Jan 16, 2000 12:42 AM

                    I have not gone by to take a look, but has the new chef of Patria changed the menu or is most of the stuff still from Doug?

                    Yes, I've heard about Doug consulting for the space that was Colina in ABC Carpet. I've not seen Unico yet.

                    1. re: Gary Cheong
                      Tom Jan 17, 2000 06:54 PM

                      The new chef at Patria is quite remarkable. His name is Andrew DiCataldo and he and Doug Rodriguez are old friends (DiCataldo was on staff at Patria from the beginning). The menu is mostly new, and the crowds are just as voracious. Portions are not huge, but everything I tried was pretty exciting.

                      Rodriguez is going to be the new chef at the new restaurant that's replacing Colina--in name, menu, and disposition. I've forgotten the new name--they just put out a new awning on 18th Street--but it's happening fairly quickly. Makes sense to have nuevo Latino there, because the entire restaurant is a Brazilian farmhouse that was imported, brick by slat, as perhaps only ABC Home & Carpet could do it. Can't wait for the opening--March at the latest.

                    2. re: michelle
                      stephen kaye Jan 16, 2000 07:43 AM

                      anyone have phone # for unico please? anyone have tasting notes?? would it be a cool place to take 6 high profile customers to?? thx in advance

              2. s
                Seth Ditchik Nov 30, 1999 10:36 AM

                I went to Patria for a birthday dinner once, and had great food. Go for the fire and ice appetizer-raw tune cerviche in coconut milk. The deserts there are not to be missed; certainly the most interesting presentations I've seen. Try "lime in the coconut". I'm not sure how the departure of the head chef recently has affected the place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Seth Ditchik
                  Brad Nov 30, 1999 02:14 PM

                  I've been to Calle Ocho (too) many times. It's a really fun place, great space, cool bar, good drinks, etc... But, I find the food to be only OK. I've tried most of the menu and while I've never had anything bad, there aren't too many standouts either (lobster cerviche is one). It's a great neighborhood place and fun with a group, but I wouldn't make a special trip JUST for the food.

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