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Anyone tried Ladino Tapas Grill Yet?

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PotatoPuff Apr 4, 2012 08:13 AM

It's in Colombus Circle in NYC.... I'll try to go after Pesach, but supposedly they are open for Pesach. They are under O-U supervision. So excited to have a new type of restaurant on the scene, and in an area that could use one!

Anyone been yet?

  1. a
    AdinaA Jun 4, 2012 03:15 PM

    Went a second time. Since my first visit was on Pesach, I was hoping that the food would imporve once they could have access to a wider range of ingredients.

    I thought the service was fine. It's noisy by design, which makes it less useful to me in any case.

    But my disappointment was with the food. There where four of us, we each ordered an appetizer and main course and each tasted everything. Some of the food was good but uninteresting, like a dish with slices of beef, sweet peppers and onions that was fine bur boring. Some of it was not well designed, like an appetizer of croquettes that had a gluey consistence, didn't taste very good, and came with a dipping sauce that seemed to be mayonnaise form a jar mixed with a little tomato paste.

    I won't go back. I'll either head ten blocks uptown to Noi Dui or ten blocks down to La Marais.

    If you do want to try Tapas, go soon, because I predict a short life.

    14 Replies
    1. re: AdinaA
      m
      mamaleh Jun 5, 2012 08:39 AM

      I thought they did a really nice job with the flavors in the tuna ceviche. I thought the mushroom croquettes and bravas were pretty good too. Less happy with the bacalao and tortilla - I agree that the consistency and spices were not quite right with these two items, at least on the day that I was there. I think the kosher kosher tapas concept is brilliant, and I hope they can improve the experience to make it work.

      1. re: mamaleh
        a
        AdinaA Jun 5, 2012 12:18 PM

        I agree that the ceviche was very good. I had chicken croquettes and they were gluey with boring mayonnaise based sauce. Someone ordered Basque meatballs because it sounded interesting , but it was just plain meatballs.

        If they want to improve - and I agree that it would be nice - they would have to rethink the recipes they are using. And upgrade the culinary level of the kitchen.

        As it stands, prices are comparable to La Marais. But Tapas is far more crowded and nosier, and the food isn't nearly as good.

        1. re: mamaleh
          p
          PotatoPuff Jun 11, 2012 07:53 AM

          Finally finally finally made it to Ladino! Like mamaleh, I also enjoyed the mushroom croquettes, they were very creamy inside. The yucca fries were not greasy but a bit bland. Even the chimichurri sauce it came with was a bit mellow. I'm still a bit confused by the hand rolled cigars they give out, I've never seen them at a restaurant before, but they were a nice touch. The decor was several steps up from most kosher places I've been to. Overall, it was good but a bit pricey.

          1. re: PotatoPuff
            b
            barryg Jun 11, 2012 08:07 AM

            Cigars the food or the tobacco product?

            1. re: barryg
              p
              PotatoPuff Jun 12, 2012 12:00 PM

              tobacco cigars!

              1. re: PotatoPuff
                d
                DeisCane Jun 12, 2012 01:08 PM

                Gross.

                1. re: PotatoPuff
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                  barryg Jun 12, 2012 07:22 PM

                  Weird. Do they have a smoking room?

                  1. re: barryg
                    p
                    PotatoPuff Jun 13, 2012 03:10 PM

                    Noooo... they give you the cigars on the way out the door. I'm planning on giving mine to my dad as part of a father's day present!

                    1. re: PotatoPuff
                      b
                      barryg Jun 13, 2012 06:06 PM

                      Weird.

                      1. re: PotatoPuff
                        a
                        ATH44 Jun 14, 2012 10:18 PM

                        Thanks, I was wondering how that worked!

            2. re: AdinaA
              i
              itreu001 Jun 11, 2012 02:28 PM

              I agree, I went with my wife there last week, and the food was sub cafeteria par. The food had no taste, and the braised shortrib, was basically, the meat that my mom cooks with the soup on passover. We paid crazy prices, and were starving when we left. We will gladly overpay for good food, but will not return to be ripped off for someone's kitchen experiment. C'mon, $15 for guacamole, it better be magical guoc. (We did not get it). The yucca fries had no taste, the wings tasted like they used the Dougie's sauce, and it was all the same with everything else.

              I was hoping for a good change, but alas, there will be no return for me.

              1. re: itreu001
                a
                ATH44 Jun 14, 2012 10:17 PM

                I had the guacamole, it was quite good. Not amazing, but better than other establishments. I figure it costs so much because of the molcajete that they serve it in. I saw them going for $60!

                1. re: ATH44
                  a
                  avitrek Jun 15, 2012 06:28 AM

                  Which even if you amortize over only a single year, comes out to 23 cents/day. And if it gets used at lunch and dinner or twice at dinner, it becomes even cheaper. I don't think a $60 serving utensil is drastically increasing the cost of the dish.

                  1. re: avitrek
                    a
                    ATH44 Jun 18, 2012 10:58 PM

                    You're probably right about that. I guess I was trying to justify the expense of what people obviously feel should be a cheaper item.
                    That's why I was surprised to learn that Abigael's charges $14 (at dinner, it's $12.50 by lunch)! Also, when I visited Ladino it was only $12…
                    Makes you wonder.

            3. g
              GilaB Jun 3, 2012 03:46 PM

              We just got back from an early dinner there. I'm disappointed - I feel like it could be quite good, but right now, the service is lacking just a bit, and the food is consistently underseasoned. I don' t know if they're making things blander to appeal to the kosher-keeping population, but several dishes could have been really good with some more flavor.

              I recognize that most of the kosher-keeping population won't care, but to me, tapas should be Spanish food, not Spanish-and-Latin-American food. The ceviche, churros, etc. are very not-Spanish.

              2 Replies
              1. re: GilaB
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                ahuva Jun 3, 2012 07:39 PM

                when i ate there i was very disappointed with the blandness of the food as well. i figured that a spanish place would have strong spice choices, and i found the food completely underwhelming.

                1. re: ahuva
                  g
                  GilaB Jun 3, 2012 08:18 PM

                  I wasn't expecting spiciness per se, but seasonings - pimenton, more herbs, more citrus, and yes, maybe a little hot pepper as well.

                  On a separate note, the 'date fritters' are like dense, deep-fried chocolate-chip muffins with a very rare nugget of date. They're pretty good, but not very date-ish.

              2. c
                cappucino May 2, 2012 07:33 PM

                Interesting video on this restaurant with interviews of the chef and co-owner. Towards the end, you get to see some of the food items which really do taste quite good. The issue is as stated here is the arrogance of the manager/owner. He should hire someone else to greet and shmooze and act interested in the customers.
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMwUlz...

                1. t
                  thehungryjew Apr 11, 2012 08:40 PM

                  Ate there tonight - TERRIBLE experience.

                  1) We booked a table for 8pm and turned up on time. We weren't seated until 9.

                  2) Half the menu had sold out. No lamb chops, no short ribs, no burgers, no chicken wings.

                  3) The waitress nearly poked my girlfriends eye out with a skewer.

                  4) The tapas came out cold (not just a little warm).

                  5) The meatballs were tasteless

                  6) The rib eye steak was over cooked. Ordered medium rare came out well-done.

                  7) The skirt steak was mostly peppers with a side of steak. The peppers weren't even chopped up.

                  8) The manager was very rude to say the least. He was sarcastic and obnoxious - When we told him we had been waiting 45 mins already his reply was "that's wonderful". When we asked if we could have something off our check he told us that he was going to add in a glass of Prosecco. They were out of Prosecco and we were not offered anything!!

                  Redeeming factors:
                  1) The filet steak was pretty good

                  2) The guacamole was good - although not made table side

                  3) The restaurant is conveniently located next to a McDonalds if you're still hungry afterwards.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: thehungryjew
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                    AdinaA Apr 12, 2012 03:54 AM

                    Interesting. We were seated at 6. I'm not surprised that they were out of even more items by 9. They were clearly somewhat overwhelmed by the numbers of people who came. At 6 or 7 they were coping. By 8 I gather they weren't. But the crowds were impressive. The waitstaff seemed to be coming well. But they really are just opening, and with a Passover menu, we watched an artist still painting murals on the wall, perched on a chair above that noisy, hungry crowd. At 6 or 7 in the evening. they are trying.

                    I really do plan to go back after they settle in and get their regular menu up. The menu and location make it a convenient before or after theater place. And I think the food and the venue have real potential.

                    1. re: AdinaA
                      c
                      cappucino Apr 14, 2012 08:06 PM

                      To be honest with you, the manager was a bit off-putting. You want to be overly accommodating and seem interested in pleasing. He is not able to. He doesn't know that that is his job. If he is part owner, he should hire someone. If he isn't, he should be replaced.

                      1. re: cappucino
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                        UWSFoodie Apr 18, 2012 10:00 AM

                        I'm gonna have to agree. We went last night and the service was so horrible but the food was pretty good. Sadly we were so offended that we will wait a long time before giving them a second try, if we even consider going back. Our tapas never showed up and our main course was brought out and we asked for the appetizers and what happened so then they took away the mains. Then they made us wait for the tapas and told us they didn't have some of the items we wanted. Finally after the bill came we had to wait an insane amount of time to just pay them! We got the cash together and just walked over to the manager to pay (didn't want to leave $120 on the table) and he was offensive and rude. BTW they said their computer system wasn't working so they included a mandatory 18% gratuity.

                        1. re: UWSFoodie
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                          flo220 Apr 18, 2012 11:40 AM

                          We were there last night as well and while the service was somewhat slow, I didn't think it was horrible and plan to go back again. We (5 of us) had a 6:30 reservation and they seated us individually as we arrived. (As opposed to Prime Grill when they refused to seat 5 of us until the 6th arrived which was annoying.)
                          Our Guacamole came quickly and was very good. The tapas we ordered also came in time and were delicious. We ordered 6 of them (for $50) including the skewers, the 2 ducks, the ribs, a ceviche and the deviled eggs. All were delicous. As expected with tapas, the plates are fairly small although I could see making a dinner of the tapas if you order enough of them.
                          Getting the main course was slow while the waiter apologized several times it was clear that the kitchen was overwhelmed. Then 3 of the 5 came out well before the other 2. The food (short ribs, tuna, sliced steak and braised meat) was good, although not as special as the tapas, The portions were average size. The choices of desert were limited to 3 sorbets so we skipped it, got our check and left.
                          Paying was quick. Our waiter said that the charge system did not allow them to add the tip after the charge receipt was generated so we added the amount of the tip to our bill and he ran it up including that amount. We were out by 8:30 -- the slow service probably added less than a 1/2 hour to our time there. When we left the restaurant was very full with people at the bar seemingly waiting for tables and the restaurant was very loud.
                          It seemed to me that they are still working through their opening pains. They were out of several of the items (which at 6:30 meant they did not order sufficiently) and are still planning to add more desserts and beers to their menu. However, given their location, unusual menu and the good food, I would expect them to continue to be popular although maybe not as hectic as these first 2 weeks. We plan to try them again in the near future.

                          1. re: flo220
                            r
                            rachelwoodmere Apr 27, 2012 07:51 AM

                            Tried Ladino's last night. Food and ambiance wonderful. Service appalling. We were 9 people. We had 9pm reservation. We wanted earlier but were told there was no availability. We were told not to worry we would be seated by 9pm and if not they would bring us a round of drinks while we wait. No table until close to 10pm and no round of drinks. When we were finally seated it took some time before we could flag down a waiter to take our orders. Our food arrived after 11pm. We had to ask quite a few times for the cocktail menu, then difficult to flag down a waiter and order a drink. In their defense the restaurant was super crowded and they obviously have not yet worked out how to manage the crowd. Management didn't seem to interested until we were the last table left in the restaurant. At that point, they probably wanted to close so they managed to get out all our food. We ordered just about everything on the menu and nothing was bad. The guacamole was excellent, the steak tartare was tasty, the duck breast a little dry, same for the chicken skewers, the slices of steak perfect, the filet was decent. Wine list was extensive. Was fun night out but would not go back until feedback on the service improves.

                  2. a
                    AdinaA Apr 11, 2012 08:01 PM

                    Went chol hamoed. Ordered six tapas as dinner for two people: the roasted beets were very good. tuna cerviche with citrus and mango also very good. skewered chicken and beef were excellent, plain grilled meat, with disappointing mayonaise dip. cod cakes were nice. fried chicken wings with a cilantro-based hot sauce very good. ribs were tender meat nicely cooked but uninteresting.

                    That said, this is the shakedown period and Pesach menu. Duck and lamb chops were on the menu, but not available. The place was packed. Noisy, because it is designed to be noisy - all hard surfaces. But the house manager was good, and reservations were respected.

                    The food was good, and fun. And it may not be fair to judge a kitchen by its Pesach menu. I'll certainly go back.

                    1. p
                      psycomp Apr 5, 2012 06:16 AM

                      We went on their 2nd night, and I agree - they have real potential.

                      They are serving their Passover menu already, and will be open for Chol Hamoed. Guacamole with plantain/yuca/batata chips was good, but missing certain "kitniyos" spices. Roasted baby beets were great. The fritatta and the salmon ceviche were "ok". The chicken/beef skewers and short-ribs were quite plain - the dollop of green sauce for the ribs or the chimichurri for the skewers didn't do much. Cooked properly, but plain. (Where does mayonnaise based chimichuri come from? Not any recipe I've seen.)

                      I won't judge them based on a pre-passover, just-opened visit, but I will be back again after the holiday. Doesn't hurt that I work in Columbus Circle and this an oasis in on otherwise bleak landscape, Kosher-wise. Copy of their menu, below.

                      http://www.scribd.com/doc/88121182/La...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: psycomp
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                        cappucino Apr 5, 2012 01:40 PM

                        Did they serve the guacamole at the table as it says on the site?

                        1. re: cappucino
                          c
                          cappucino Apr 11, 2012 02:22 PM

                          To answer my own question, they did not serve the guacamole at the table, but they did make it to order and served it in a traditional stone pot. The Passover menu was great, but we only had time for ceviche, guacamole and yucca fries, all good. The vibe was busy, young, a mix of Orthodox and others, some looked like they were just eating there as a regular business lunch. Very pleasant. Can't wait to go back when they have their regular menu.

                      2. j
                        jsrealty Apr 4, 2012 05:20 PM

                        What's not to love about Kosher Tapas? Beyond the amazing, super-yummy Ceviches in spicy citrus vinaigrette which starts off your meal on exactly the right note, is the superb quality of food and artistry of presentation at this restaurant. Salmon glaceado with yuka fries and mango salsa was off the charts, borrego lamp chops with tangy sause was fantastic. This restaurant is a flavor explosion.

                         
                        1. k
                          Kosher Critic Apr 4, 2012 12:17 PM

                          Kosher tapas? Of course I have been there already. It is not yet fully operational, e.g., some items on the menu are not yet available and the complete wine list and full bar will be available after Pesach. That said, based on my experience, Ladino has some really good potential. I sampled three tapas: tuna ceviche, a potato frittata and yucca fries. All were very tasty. What was really good were the dipping sauces that are provided - one is tomato-based and the other is a cilantro sauce. I hope they do not get blanded-down for the customer base. The nice thing about tapas is that you can nibble on several different items in an evening. The menu includes several entrees as well.

                          The service could not have been friendlier.

                          The restaurant has a good bit of space and could become a real destination for dining as well as what could become a social gathering place. It will need to develop into a fun spot if it is going to attract the upper west siders away from their comfort zone. The background music must improve - it should be Spanish. I understand that there will be live music at least on Saturday nights. Some Spanish decor would be nice too.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Kosher Critic
                            d
                            DeisCane Apr 4, 2012 01:10 PM

                            Is it fleishig or milchig?

                            1. re: DeisCane
                              k
                              Kosher Critic Apr 4, 2012 01:32 PM

                              Fleishig, with several fish and vegetarian items on the menu.

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