Friday, March 20, 2009
Not on some voodoo/Santeria shit, but secular. Better yet savory.
I've known about La Nueva Espana for several years. When a certain someone used to live in Inwood we went here once or twice and the dish I remember was the tostones magicos, otherwise known as magical plantains. They were delicious and I wanted to relive that moment of epicurean bliss.
As we all know my local go-to for Spanish (Dominican) food is Nueve Ambiente on Broadway, just north of Isham Street, but this day I was willing to walk that extra block or two to see if the memories served true. I'll admit, I was a bit intimidated walking in- straight Spanish and not a gringo in site. That usually doesn't bother me, but the place was hectic and I had no clue what or how to order. That's just my bullshit I guess. I saw everybody ordering the grilled half-chicken, and took that as a sign. As I placed my order they sold their last bird on the grill so I had to wait around 15-20 minutes for the next batch. At least I know it was prepared fresh.
Along with the half chicken, I ordered tostones magicos de carne (beef) and platano maduros (sweet plantains). The bill came out to $17. Not bad for the generous amount of food- could easliy serve 2 people. In hindsight there was absolutely no reason to get the maduros. I already had the magic joints and rice came with it. My nerves got the best of me.
Alright, alright, alright, I'll get straight to the main attraction, LOS TOSTONES MAGICOS. The dish is similar to mofongo, basically mashed tostones filled with a protein. AYYOOO. Here the tostone is shaped into a hollow half circle and filled with either beef, chicken or shrimp. As mentioned I ordered the beef, and after one bite halcyon visions from years past appeared. It wasn't that serious but these little morsels are delicious. The stewed beef had hints of garlic, onion and cilantro, and worked well with the salty and crispy plantain cup. And who doesn't love eating with their hands? You can't use a fork or knife with these without ruining the structural integrity. And if you were to do that the magic would seep out and the dish wouldn't be as good. 3 half cups come to an order ($5) and are pretty filling. Each is about the diameter of a baseball. Dominicans love baseball. But how the fuck did they lose to the Dutch? What an embarrassment.
The chicken brought me back to reality. Being cooked on the grill, the skin had a nice taste and texture, but the meat was pretty bland. I wasn't impressed. I'm used to either pollo guisado (stewed chicken) or the roasted rotisserie chicken where flavors are in abundance. I was expecting more here. The looks were deceiving. As you can see in the pics- the chicken looks good, unfortunately it didn't taste the same. Served with a salad of lettuce and tomato.
The rice, beans and platanos maduros were all standard fare. I took this to go, but there is ample seating in the dining room to the left of the counter area. I'll be back one day, just won't be ordering the grilled chicken. 2 orders of magic plantains are a meal's worth of food so we'll have to Blaine it out next time or try something new. Abracadabra bitches.
La Nueva Espana
606 W. 207th St just east of Broadway
New York, NY 10034
Open 7 Days A Week- Call for Hours
Subway- A train to 207th St./1 train to 215th St.- walk several blocks to 207th St.
See Menu HERE.