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El Quinto Pino - Uni Panini

Went last night. Had a nice glass of rioja. The Basque anchovies in tomato sauce were very good, the salmorejo was an interesting variation on gazpacho and the gambas al ajillo may be some of the best I've had. But the uni panini- a warm Tom Cat Bakery ficelle slathered with mustard oil, butter and sea urchin was...MIND BLOWINGLY GOOD!!!!!! At $15 a piece they are only about 4 bites each but I don't care. I had 2 of them and wanted more!

El Quinto Pino
401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

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  1. love uni and am looking forward to scartching that particular itch early next week. can't remember the last time i had uni that wasn't bite sized or over rice with ikura.

    1. After reading Andrea Strong's description of the "Unini" ( I believe she likened it to hot sweaty sex... mmmm, ooohhh) I had to have again whatever she was having. It was indeed orgasmic. I guess El Quinto Pino sells so much caviar de oricios (uni or sea urchin roe) that they got a good deal on ankimo (monkfish liver) which they served as a special in olive oil. Spaniards do in fact eat uni in Asturias and other coastal areas and monkfish (rape) liver pate in Catalonia.

      4 Replies
      1. re: guttergourmet

        gutter, the panini sounds amazing, i gotta try next time i'm in nyc. yes they do eat sea urchin in asturias (and there is an annual festival del oricios each March just outside gijon) but either raw or integrated into scrambled eggs, a tortilla or an empanada (not so far removed from the uni pizza that you crave eh?). so the uni panini sounds like an invention by the tia pol/quinto pino/tinto fino people, more power to them, i like the way in which they, along with the despana people and certain others, are pioneers for promoting more modern day, and some regional, spanish cuisine into NYC.

        i'm curious, i ate spanish sea urchin quite recently in a london sushi bar and it wasn't great. do you know whether quinto pino are actually using spanish uni or are they using Californian or other? if spanish, could it be conserva rather than fresh?

        btw a few months ago i bought some sea urchin pate on the rec of the main guy at despana and it turned out to be one of the few letdowns from that store.

        1. re: oonth

          Hey oonth-how are ya? The uni panini is California sea urchin. I also had the seafood pate at Despana and was underwhelmed. Made up for it with the newly imported jamon Iberico and some churros y chocolate. Of course you can have that anytime in London and Spain but we cuisine-deprived New Yorkers have to try to get by.

          1. re: guttergourmet

            Yep, I saw your post about Iberico, to paraphrase that's one small step for pig, one giant leap for NYC, for me top grade Iberico is the ultimate cured meat around surpassing culatello et al. And sounds like you're already getting to grips with the various nuances, exclusively acorn fed vs acorn/grain fed, shoulder vs hind leg, reared in Extremadura vs in Andalucia vs in Castile y Leon, the fundamental importance of the skill of the "cortador" etc. In my experience the best stuff comes from Jabugo, a tiny village in Andalucia but I'm not sure exactly what is and isn't available in the US at this point in time.

            A tip for you - check out a cheese called Torta Canarejal (sheeps milk, similar to Vacherin Mont d'Or) which I notice is available from time to time via tienda.com. Decadent and delicious.

            1. re: oonth

              Thanks-I've been to Spain albeit many years ago and lived on Jabugo for weeks. Feliz Navidad.

      2. I just want to comment on or ask about the name. Is the place "in the middle of nowhere"?

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathinmadrid

          24th between 8th and 9th- the middle of nowhere

        2. four bites? Perhaps they've shrunken the size of it since the first few days EQP was open because mine was considerably larger than just 4 bites worth (at least 6 but more like 8).

          1 Reply
          1. Thanks for that - will have to go there with my uni loving husband.

            1. I am so excited to try this. There is just an article on NYT Grub Street saying that Andrea Strong invents "food porn" from the way that she described it. Haha.

              1. Okay, it was good, but did anyone else think the Korean Mustard oil was just a bit over powering? I thought it was a good sandwich and something totally different. However, when I went there, it felt like I was using too much wasabi when I am out for sushi. Anyone feel the same?

                4 Replies
                1. re: clashfan

                  Yes, I completely agree-the mustard oil was way overpowering. I don't get this sandwich the way others get it. It was tasty, but I thought the delicate sweet sea like flavor of the uni was lost with the mustard oil. Hardly sex on a sandwich, but come to think of it no sandwich makes me think of sex..

                  1. re: susiec80

                    Tony Luke's Roast Pork Italian-unfortunately no longer available in NYC (Shorty's is no good)- was better than sex.

                    1. re: guttergourmet

                      I hope it was good enough for your sake.
                      I once gave up a dinner at Daniel for sex at the same time as our reservation. No regrets here.


                      1. re: guttergourmet

                        I remember my first Bahn Mi was definitely "orgasmic". That said, I keep thinking of the response "you must not be doing IT (sex) right". On the other hand, I am right there with you (foie gras, caviar and champagne come to mind). Now, all that said....a late afternoon romp, shower and a cab ride to Yasuda or Per Se, or OMP sounds just right! Wait.....or Katz's. :)

                  2. We went to El Quinto Pino 2 nights ago. Excellent place, extremely small (local and menu) but definately worth it. Had a nice Ribera and delicious tapas. The Uni I thought was good, bit over powering on the musturd as Uni is great on its own, but still all in all very good. The pavias were yummy! My son asked for seconds. Pringa (cant get more down home spanish than that!) Unfortunately they didnt have Jamon Iberico, they had serrano, but the iberico was stuck in customs!(we asked!) Hope they get it soon, will definately be returning!

                    1. I went last night and have to pile on to the positive reviews. Uni panini was very good, as was the garbanzo and spinach stew, and shared some good green olives with a friend. With 2 glasses of cava, it was a great meal.

                      1. Last night, I went to El Quinto Pino last night to try the Uni Panini. I have to say that I was sadly disappointed. The uni was not as bountiful as the photos from NY Magazine. I could barely taste the uni which was was less then what you would find on a piece of sushi. Highly overrated.