Dinner For One….Tapas Style

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this single life

takes some getting use to…

but I have embraced it…

head on.

it was different when I was single & never married

hard to explain…

just different.

now a single mom…..

I always have a plus one…

she’s knee high & her liquor of choice is milk.

even though I go out with her to eat…

I almost never get a chance to experience

food….foodie style.

So… the last few months

I have shed the FEAR of making a

reservation

for one.

and I go…

once every other week or so

to all the places I want to try…my list is quite long!

and I get to experience food…

the taste, texture, smell….the different culinary styles & flavors,

I take my time…taking every aspect in

some places are better than others…

and I don’t care that I am alone, no embarrassment, no awkwardness….

I walk in head held high with fork in knife ready to dig in!

in the end….

my Dinner for One

is a PLUS on the “single” side of life.

I actually…

highly recommend it.

 

LADINO TAPAS BAR & GRILL

940 8th Avenue  New York, NY 10019

(212) 265-6520

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I went this past Tuesday after work, around 5 pm.

The place was empty, with the exception of a few tables who were early bird diners like myself. The lady who greeted me at the door told me that there were no tables available without a reservation

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and asked if I would mind sitting at the bar. I admit, I was a little put off, it was 5pm and the restaurant was for the most part empty, and knowing that dinner crowds do not normally happen till about 7…sitting at the bar myself was not something I really wanted to do. It was daring enough in my book to sit at a table by myself – but the bar…I just wasn’t feeling it. However, being a past restaurant owner, I DO NOT ARGUE with the staff, they have their reasons, and the restaurant was empty…so who cares really if I sit at the bar – right? So I did.

Lucky for me, I had a great bartender/waitress LIZ. Who was so sweet & accommodating and really was helpful in not only making me feel comfortable, but helping with menu choices.

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Right off the bat I told her “my eyes are bigger than my stomach – lead me to the best tapas Ladino has to offer”.  She recommended the Salmonceviche (my recipe here), and the Beef Ribs with BBQ Chipolte.  On my own I picked one of the special of the days – the Duck Taco with coleslaw & a chili de arbol sauce.

Now Tapas traditionally are Spanish finger foods, ranging from cold to hot appetizer like dishes. Tapas are served day in and day out in every bar and cafe in Spain. So much a part of the culture and social scene that the Spanish word tapear was invented for it – which means to go eat tapas!

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This Salmon Ceviche was delicious – it had the perfect blend of lemon acidic salmon flavor, spicy jalpeno and fresh cold tangy slaw. The only thing that would have made this dish more perfect would have been some type of crusty bread or salty tortilla chip to eat it with.

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These BBQ ribs the best thing I ate that night. Super soft – just the way I like them – they melted in your mouth. The bbq sauce was pretty standard hickoryish flavor did not have any distinct latin taste per say, but all together it worked very nicely with the spicy cold slaw on the side. The portion was perfect appetizer size and if I would have only ordered this – I would have been quite satisfied.

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The duck taco – a bit of a dissapointment – but I blame myself partially – I did not just go with what the Liz recommended.  I love duck, but this duck was gamey and had no real flavor. The sauce on top was so spicy that it ruined whatever flavor the duck might have had. After a long swig of coke, I tasted the duck by itself – and I see why that put that sauce (to hide the gaminess). That being said it is a lesson – I know that “specials” are either one of two things – a restaurants way of getting you to try a new dish that they are adding on the menu – OR a way for them to get rid of leftovers. This definitely was a leftover special. I barley touched it and left it for the trash.

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Then it was dessert time – sitting at the bar – dessert menu was not offered – I think Liz thought , there is no way this chic is going to ORDER MORE! But as I was perusing the menu I saw their sides offerings – and Plaintains were a side! I had to try them – I am a BANANA LOVER – all kinds and I truly never had a properly prepared plaintan dish. So of course I ordered it, much to the surprise of Liz. When the plate came, they looked awesome, and at first bite I did not know what to expect, sweet fried bananas or something else? Well  – they were not sweet – they had no taste – but they had potential!!! You have to remember this was not their dessert – but a side  – and I can see that they were meant to be eaten with your meal  – as you would a french fry.

So I asked for something sweet – and Liz said “how about our mexican chocolate sauce?” – UMMM YES LIZ – BRNG IT ON!! and she did – the chocolate sauce was not as thick or sweet as I would like – but with a little added sugar from the bar – it was the perfect Ladino banana dessert. I would definitely order it as a side and with a little tweak  – a dessert the next time I go.

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Now there were 2 men sitting at the table behind me, who were served this dish – The skirt steak with vegetables & avocado. It is a main meal and served with a side of plantains. It looked awesome and according to those 2 it was! Definietly going to try it the next time.

They were also served this dish – a corn meal slider. A burger that was put between two cornmeal patties with some sort of chpolte mayo drizzle – another dish I must order next time.

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So if you have read this far – you know that I am recommending LADINO TAPAS BAR & GRIL. The atmosphere is really quite inviting – a small intimate place perfect for those who are looking not for the traditional food fare – but love to go out to eat and have a FOODIE experience. The Drinks coming from the bar looked very inviting as well, and my next trip I will be taking a bus home, so I can imbibe! 

The service at 5pm other than that little glitch at the door – was fantastic, quick, friendly & very accommodating ! But if you want street parking – it only starts at 6PM – so bare that in mind.

The prices are quite reasonable $8-$14 for tapas, sides & salads. $20-$63 for mains. I believe if you want to spend no more than $25-$35 per person – you can have a terrific meal of tapas, salads  & drinks.

On the whole – it was a GREAT DINNER FOR ONE. – Next time though I am gonna bring a friend or two, so I can pick their plates!!!

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For the record: This is totally my own opinion and I was NOT paid in any way to review this restaurant or write this post.