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Jul 22, 2009 09:48 AM

A new Spanish restaurant in Sunnyside, seemingly

While ascending the stairs to the 7 train, it's awfully difficult to read the particularly garish (in a not promising way) sign for the restaurant that has replaced Chanita at 52nd and Roosevelt, but I'm pretty sure it says "Spanish Food" underneath the logo.

Can anyone confirm? Has anyone tried it?

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  1. Chanita had become Amsterdam. Has it flipped again?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Joe MacBu

      I'd doubt it. I've been there twice recently when the owners were talking about how they were going to get rid of the american stuff and focus on spanish food. If there's a new sign or new name, I bet it's just the amsterdam people bushing the branding more. Fwiw, twice I've gone and gotten a plate of beef stew, rice and beans and tostones for 6 bucks and been very very happy. The second time was late in the day and I didn't see any tostones so I said "oh are you out?" and the guy said "no problem" and started peeling a plantain and fried me up some fresh ones, so I'm all for this place.

      1. re: Widmark

        That's right, Amsterdam, I forgot. The restaurant is called Mi Arte Culinario. I stopped in today to grab a menu. Good looking roast chickens. I suspect that you're right, Widmark--same connections, just a new name (and sign). Pretty extensive menu of mofongos, asopados, and rice dishes. Spanish breakfasts look intriguing; I can imagine the mashed plantains, huevos, and spanish sausage curing a hangover...

        they deliver...

        1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

          I think this is positive. I always think places like that are making a mistake trying to cater to the broadest appeal with burgers and pizza and everything else instead of focusing on something special and when I overheard the owners of this place talking about how they were gonna get rid of most of the american stuff (except for breakfast egg sandwiches) it sounded like a smart move to me. Discerning foodies will want to try their steam table, not see how well they pull off both tacos and pizza!

          1. re: Widmark

            This place seems to add a welcome diversity to the area. I'm not aware of any other Caribbean places in the hood. I guess there is El Sitio, but I've never had a good meal there.

            Widmark, since you've eaten there, do you know what the deal is with the lunch specials? The menu states "Lunch special $6.50", but every thing listed underneath has a price of $10. What gives?

            1. re: Joe MacBu

              Yes I was confused too by their $6.50 lunch specials with everything underneath saying $10. I did drop in the other day with the intention of ordering, but after looking at the menu and realizing I only had $11 in my pocket, I decided otherwise and instead just grabbed two yummy tacos from the truck up the street.

              I wish them the best, but their price point is a bit high IMO for the nabe.
              A plate of chicken with rice and beans on the side will run close to $10 here; whereas two other great options in the nabe would be BBQ's or Pio Pio where you can get the same for <$5.

              1. re: Joe MacBu

                I've been back since they changed the sign. They've also added table-cloths and menus in binders and seemingly raised the price. I came in to get lunch, ordered at the steam table, said it was to stay, then was told I could sit down when a waiter came and brought me water. I kind of have issues with places that have this kind of confusion about what kind of place it is. A solid steam table where you get a tray of food and sit down and don't have to wonder if you're supposed to be waiting for a waiter is ok! It's not declasse!

                Anyway, I did notice that the plates were now 10 bucks, but since it was lunch, they only charged me 6.50. I'm guessing those platters are going to be 10 for dinner? A little while after sitting a ton of people came in, so they'll do a solid lunch business of local workers. The food was good, got the same rice and beans and tostones and beef stew. They did give me the beans in a bowl where it was more bean soup with like 10 pinto beans in it instead of a healthy serving of beans and rice. I don't blame them for that, as that has happened to me tons of times at various latin places. Next tiime I'll just ask for a spoonful of beans on my rice. It was still good, and the soupy stuff was tasty poured over the rice and tostones.

                Looking at the rest of the menu some of it gets pricey. It seems like a lot of central american/latin places end up with these plates, like Arroz con Camerones for 17 dollars.

                I want them to succeed, I really want places in the neighborhood where you can walk in, grab some hearty food at a decent price without sitting down and getting waiter service. I'd assume the lunch specials are still 6.50. I wish I could get plates like in that method at dinner time as well.

      2. I'm confused. Is this meant to be SPANISH food, or is this erroneously labeled Spanish when it really means Latin American? Since moving to NYC 4 years ago, I have never understood, nor appreciated the fact that New Yorkers ignorantly refer to all Latin Americans as "Spanish".

        1 Reply
        1. re: lindoca

          It's Caribbean food (mostly Dominican), which all too often is labeled as Spanish food in NYC.