The Local. La Vara.

We are only a few days into 2013, and I’m wondering if I didn’t already have potentially one of the best meals of the year last week at a place called La Vara in Cobble Hill. A relatively new restaurant from the couple behind Manhattan’s Txikito, at face value it appears to be merely a sweet little tapas restaurant but there’s a unique geo-culinary fusion being applied in the kitchen that seriously works its ass off. What I’ve read is that La Vara seeks to explore the legacy of food that was created as a result of the Jews and Muslims who shared the Iberian Peninsula with Christians for centuries. What I discovered is that this legacy exploration business is a very, very tasty thing.La Vara, dining, Spanish, tapas, restaurant, BrooklynCourtney and I ordered a whole bunch of plates, and there was honestly nary a clunker in the bunch. If you are fortunate to go, here are just a few of the plates we tried that we deemed must-orders:

  • The bowl of crunchy paprika fried chick-peas. Compulsively munchable and a fun starter.
  • The lightly fried tiny artichokes with anchovy aioli. This one provoked dueling forks for the final bites.
  • The salt cod salad. They cure their own fish in the kitchen and this beautiful plate was bright tasting, citrusy and delicious. Never had a salt cod salad and I had no idea what to expect, and it was way better than I could have imagined. This dish was a total star.
  • The suckling pig (a special.) I could have eaten a whole meal of just this… honeyed cracklin’ skin over tender and juicy pork paired with a delicious chimichurri sauce. Loved it.

Salt Cod SaladOne other standout worth mentioning; the service at La Vara really shone. The whole staff was so genuinely friendly, we couldn’t get over it. You know you’ve been living in New York City a long time when authentically pleasant service is noteworthy, but here we are. I realize this sounds like a love letter, and maybe we went there on a particularly good night, and it did happen to be my birthday– but this just seemed like a happy restaurant and they are frankly doing everything right. Great food, terrific vibe. Go. Eat there!

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Closing gift. Canasta de la edición.

Despana at 410 Broome Street in Soho is a whole pile of Spain wrapped up into one!  Well, actually four.  We first discovered their food shop and tapas cafe a couple of years ago when we switched offices.  The food shop has a ridiculous selection of meats, cheeses, breads, olive oils, vinegars, olives and more.  Their tortilla bocadillos at the cafe are craveable and everything from the salads to soups to pintxos are made fresh daily.  Next door is their wine shop which has the largest selection of Spanish wines this side of the Atlantic and the most amazingly friendly staff to go with them.  If that’s not enough, they have a chorizo factory in Queens!  They have been making and distributing the spicy links there since 1971.  In short, this place is pretty incredible.  We got this gift basket for a chef client of ours who loves to entertain.  The folks at our revered Despana did a fantastic job of customizing it.  Thank you!

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.