Tuesday, July 22, 2008

El Nuevo Ambiente in Inwood- Worth the Trip Uptown (or Downtown for the 718 and 914)

Just because I've been slacking on food write-ups doesn't mean the kid hasn't been eating. I'm hording an arsenal of material, preparing for a blog onslaught in the near future. Keep your eyes open and your stomachs empty.

A mainstay of mine for the last several years has been Nuevo Ambiente on Broadway just north of Isham Street in the Inwood section of Manhattan. I ate there regularly up till a year ago and have made sporadic visits since. Inwood has tons of Spanish restaurants, mostly Dominican, and you just have to keep trying them until you find that gem. This spot is definitely a gem. Being that Nuevo was across the street from where I stayed, I lucked out.

The one dish that keeps calling me back is the Pechuga De Pollo Salteado- sliced chicken breast with onions and peppers. The flavors are incredible. Tender pieces of white meat sauteed with sliced green pepper and rings of red and white onion in a dark garlicky sauce. Throw a little salt and tanginess into the mix and your tastebuds will be screaming Huepa!!! all night.

The meal is always accompanied by white rice and red beans, as well as a small salad- lettuce, tomato, cucumber with oil and vinegar. Their white rice has been consistently on point. Always loose, never clumpy or burnt, and has the perfect amount of salt and butter. Put some chicken over the rice and let the union of the 2 work its magic. The strong flavors of the chicken are toned down by the rice and it's a beautiful thing. The beans, usually an afterthought for me, have a great cilantro taste and are great by themself.

When my eyes are bulging out the sockets I also order the tostones- fried green plaintains. We're talking a lot of food here, but when in Rome... You might not finish it all, but to experience all these tastes and flavors is completely worth it. Thinly smashed slices of green plantain cooked to a nice golden hue. Crispy on the outside with a chewy, pasty inside. Make sure they throw some salt on them- Throw some salt on that bitch- and potato chips will be so last year. Sometimes they have a garlic dipping sauce which is highly recommended, but if not, just dip the tostones in the juices of the pollo salteado. Es la bomba!!

English is lightly spoken, so if you have any espanol in the vocabulary, go with that. I mean, I scored a 98 on the Regents, so some might call me bilingual. I'm just saying. The highlight of my academic career by the way. The english translation is on the menu, so point if you have to. Really pleasant people and the service and turnover is quick. They have also had the same chef and personnel for the 3 years I've been frequenting- says something in my opinion. The First Class car service dispatch is 2 storefronts away and Seaman cars aka 2 minutes is on 214th St. and 10th Ave. around the corner. The drivers from both companies are always eating there. When the locals eat there, I consider that a testament to the quality of the cooking. The other dishes I've tried, mainly pollo and carne guisado- beef and chicken stew- are great. I've never had a bad meal, I'm just sprung on the salteado. Prices are very reasonable, better yet inexpensive. The mentioned meal including the platanos costs $12. More than enough food for 2.

I have never eaten in, though there are 8 tables and ample space if that's your desire. If the sun is out and you want to enjoy the day and fresh air, get a blanket and head to Isham Park or Inwood Hill Park down the block, towards the water. I think I love Inwood.

El Nuevo Ambiente
4986 Broadway betw. Isham St. and 212th St.
New York, NY 10034
Across the street from the 207th St. A train stop and 2 blocks from the 215th 1 train stop

Open 7 days a week till 1 am. Call to double check hours.

For a menu click HERE. Some prices might have increased.


buckemdown said...

HowFresh won't move to Inwood.

HowFresh said...

From one wood to another. Pause.

Allen said...

Double pause. But seriously, every neighborhood in the city needs places like this. Damn midtown wasteland.

Woodside for the real ethnic treats.

buckemdown said...

The Levine brothers love the wood.

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