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Posts from the ‘South American’ Category


Pasita_interior I’ve never liked the sound of wine bars, even though I enjoy wine accompanied by snacks. There’s something about the concept that makes me think modern fern bar. I wonder why has no one revived that style (I suppose some TGI Friday’s are still rocking it) We skipped right over the ‘70s, are still hesitant about the ‘90s and can’t seem to progress beyond the decade in the middle.

Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily call Pasita a wine bar though they do refer to themselves as such. They have a concise list of Spanish, Portuguese and South American wines but the food is equally interesting. It’s hard to ignore the wood-fired pizza oven in the room and almost everyone was partaking in the 12” pies.

Pasita_mushroom_pizzaI couldn’t help but notice that the three women sitting next to us were sharing one. Bah, my friend Sherri and I each got our own and finished them no problem. One champiñon: roasted mushroom, artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, ricotta salata and mozzarella, and one queso y queso: mozzarella, queso de nata (a creamy Cantabrian cheese), parmesan, goat cheese and rosemary. We also split a salad with mango slices and roasted grapefruit, which was mildly girlie. I know that if I had been out with James we would’ve ended up with something fried and starchy in addition to the pizzas. It’s best that I dine with others now and then.

Pasita_gelatoWith a bottle of Zolo Malbec from Mendoza, we had plenty so I didn’t delve into the Venezuelan tapas. And because I have a suspicious nature I wondered if pasapalos were really just an invention to cash in on diners’ seemingly endless desire for small plates, but they do seem to be a real thing, though possibly less sophisticated than those on offer at Pasita.

We finished with glasses of a sweet dessert merlot and shared some Il Laboratorio gelato. I thought we were going to get a single scoop of honey lavender, but we were brought all three options, including icy orbs of chocolate and cinnamon too. Viva excess.

Pasita * 47 Eighth Ave., New York, NY


1/2 *I didn’t realize that chains could just go changing their raison d’etre willy-nilly but it appears that Pardo’s has switched from pollo a la brasa to ceviche and changed its name to Panca. (6/08)

I'm crazy for foreign chains but Pardo’s didn’t arrive with the fanfare of Beard Papa, Uniqlo or even Kyotofu. Perhaps the Japanese are just masters of drumming up enthusiasm (though I’m not sure that Gyu-Kaku has been a sweeping success). It’s a likable enough place so I’m hoping it doesn’t go the way of Brooklyn’s Pollo Campero.

Pardos_cocktailsPardo’s is a Peruvian chain specializing in rotisserie-grilled chicken. This is their first U.S. location and I’d be curious how closely the two menus resemble each other. They didn’t eliminate the anticuchos, beef heart skewers, which I imagine skeeve out more than few West Villagers. I don’t imagine there’s a Piscopolitan cocktail on the Lima menu, though. It’s pretty safe to guess that more than half of the clientele on a very busy Friday night were South American.

Pardos_chickenThe small, brightly lit room can barely contain the amount of diners and potential diners. I couldn’t relax the entire meal, even after a well-made pisco sour (that's a pisco libre to the left of the martini glass). The tables are so tight and precariously placed that I was constantly waiting for someone to knock something over on me. I will say that the waitresses (they’re all young females) are some of the most friendly, upbeat service workers I’ve encountered in a restaurant that’s one step up from fast food. Maybe they imported them because the leisurely pace that tables got turned over and bills were brought out was very un-NYC in lack of urgency.

Pardos_yuquitasWe tried half a chicken brasa and half parrillero, the brasa being rotisserie style and parrillero a grilled boneless fillet. Who knows what the advertised 14 secret ingredients were, but salt is definitely one of them (to be fair, I’m a notorious under-salter. I have to consciously add what seems like extra when cooking for others. It’s strange that I have high blood pressure since I’m practically on an unintentional low-sodium diet). I preferred the classic spit-roasted version, both styles were juicy throughout, no cottony white meat.

Pardos_tacu_tacuThere are quite a few sides to choose from, we got yuquitas, commonly called yucca fries, which are rapidly becoming one of my favorite fried starches, and tacu tacu, which are croquettes of beans and rice mashed together into fat little logs. Mayonnaise and a creamy aji sauce using yellow South American chiles come on the side. Despite the cute name, tacu tacu was kind of dull, I would’ve expected more pizzazz from a fritter. I might try canario beans instead if I went again.

Even though our spot was being eyed by anxious couples, we decided to have a slice of tres leches cake anyway. We couldn’t disappoint our waitress who highly recommended it and checked back to make sure we were enjoying it. Only a monster would hate tres leches cake.

Pardo's * 92 Seventh Ave. S., New York, NY

Palo Santo

1/2 No matter what, I can never remember the name of this restaurant. I know it’s on Union Street, that the chef used to cook at Williamsburg’s La Brunette (a restaurant I always meant to try but never got around to before it closed) and that it consists of two Spanish words. And then I’m stuck so I have to sort through all Latin American listings in Park slope on Citisearch or New York (ok, not the latter—I just tested it and it’s nowhere to be found) to find it. Palo Santo, okay, I’m forcing it into my memory.

Palo_santo_gambas_1 It’s a curious place, stuck in the middle of a brownstone row and decorated in a woody willy-nilly fashion. There’s a warm, crafty vibe, enhanced by the front room’s fireplace. Reggae was the music of choice on my visit. I never went though a Bob Marley phase, but at least it's slightly more tolerable than Andean pan pipes or Gypsy Kings. Some commenter somewhere I can’t recall described the interior as looking like a ‘70s health food eatery and that’s not completely false, though I suspect they’re trying for more sophistication than that. Thankfully, sprouts are nowhere to be seen.

The menu changes daily and I forgot to take note of the chickpea strewn slaw that our shrimp a la plancha were served on. I’m not sure if it was the citrus used or an exotic herb that snuck in (the chef makes use of many esoteric items) but there was an overall bitter, acidic flavor that didn’t agree with me. That was the only miss, though. I forgot to change the setting on my camera after taking photos off the TV so everything ended up a dark, dull faux sepia toned mess.

Palo_santo_duck_mole_2 My duck mole was flavorful without being overwhelmingly rich as a fatty bird and dark sauce potentially could be. It came with a little corn cake topped with black beans that contained something crunchy. I want to say it was a fried skin of some sort but I don’t recall that being part of the description. I did ask about the two foreign-to-me herbs that enhanced the beans. They were Mexican papalo and pepicha, and no, I can't quite describe them beyond dubbing them forceful and distinct. You wouldn't want a mouthful.

James had seafood asapado, a soupy rice, which was kind of like a cross between risotto and bouillabaisse. We shared a hot from the oven banana chocolate dessert that was topped with melting cream. It beat another tired molten cake, that’s for sure. I refuse to eat those piping hot soft-centered sweets out of principle. I feel the same way about the oozing pucks as I do about rampant bad ‘80s music. There’s just no excuse in 2007.

Palo_santo_banana_chocolate_1 I’ve heard that if you sit at the bar you can order a $45 tasting menu that isn’t set in stone. I guess that’s an omakase. That doesn’t sound unreasonable, yet I would’ve preferred that the dishes cost a few dollars less apiece. The prices were slightly high (entrees $20+) for a casual weeknight dinner (though it looks like they have a more moderately priced menu during the day), and when you could easily spend $100 for two (which I didn’t) cash only seems silly.

Palo Santo * 652 Union St., Brooklyn, NY

Perro Caliente

Don't be scared of the South American hot dog. My overstuffed wiener and bun induced stomach trauma from a few weeks ago is now far enough in the past that I can share some photos from my culinary experimenting. The actual article will likely appear in the New York Post in a Wednesday or two so I won't get wordy here. Ok, they ended up using my "Dog Days" piece in a larger summer food round-up.

Update 5/07: It looks like Mazorca has shuttered. I never go down Northern Blvd. so it's also news to me that Xtasis, across the street, has expanded into a pink neon palace.

Perro Mixto: ham, bacon, mayo, tomatoes, avocado, crushed potato chips

Hawaiiana: mayo, avocado, pineapple, potato chips, ham

Mazorca * 83-17 Northern Blvd. Jackson Heights, NY

Iraqui: mayo, hard boiled eggs, pineapple sauce, cheese

Mexicana: avocado, cheese, chiles, mayo

La Perrada de Chalo * 83-12 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights, NY

El Completo: avocado, mayo, tomatoes, sauerkraut

JC & Family * 68-14 Roosevelt Ave. Woodside, NY

I forgot to take photos of the completo at my favorite place, San Antonio Bakery, but I did capture the beef empanada and dulce de leche layer cake.

San Antonio #2 * 36-20 Astoria Blvd. Astoria, NY

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