Monday, February 18, 2013

Oficina Latina

New York is an amazing city. I am always discovering something new and it usually makes me fall in love with the city just a little bit more each time. Sometimes it's a new (to me) museum or a new restaurant and on occasion a new neighborhood. The latter is what happened earlier this month. I never go to Nolita. I'm sure I've stumbled through it a few nights, but earlier this month when I went to a press dinner at Oficina Latina I found a new restaurant that would give me reason to go to a new (to me) neighborhood.

I perused the expansive menu online and was definitely looking forward to the night. When I arrived and reviewed the tasting menu, I was excited that many of the items I lusted over during  my initial review were on the tasting menu! We started with a Calamari and Scallop Ceviche.

Of all the ceviches that I've eaten, I don't know that scallops have ever made it on my plate. I'm usually not a fan of calamari in ceviche but this was quite tasty. The use of celery and pineapple is what really made this ceviche stand out.  They went perfectly with the plantain chips too! I preferred the ceviche calamari over our next dish the Pulpo a la Parilla.

The octopus was tender with a smoky taste and definitely better than it looked. The potato and celery salad added a great textural mix. I wish it had more potato though. They were so tender and deliciously flavored. The arepas were a pleasant surprise!

I usually avoid them because of one bad experience a very long time ago. I'm suspicious of them because they seem like fake me out soft taco in sandwich form.  That day, I learned their joy. The chicken and avocado was a light and tasty blend.  The arepas were a nice warm up for my absolute favorite dish, the Jarrete de Cordero.

Lamb shank that was slowly cooked and melted in my mouth. I was blown away by the flavor.  The sweet plantain puree was a nice touch that I may have to try at home soon. I would definitely return just for this dish. It was definitely the best plate that landed on the table. The Avocado Flan dessert was a refreshing and unexpected way to end the night.

I'm always impressed when an ingredient is used effectively in a non-traditional way. Oficina Latina had more highlights than I expected. The lamb was by far the best dish with the ceviche and avocado flan coming in at a close second. The lamb alone is worth the trip but there are other items on the menu I would love to try.

Hungry yet?

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