Address: 31 West 17th Street, New York, NY
Phone: 212- 675-7223
George Mendes is no doubt one of the hottest (and hottest looking) chefs in New York right now. Armed with impressive culinary training with legendary chefs such as David Bouley, Alain Passard, Roger Vergé, Alain Ducasse, Martín Berasategui (of San Sebastian!), the talented young Portuguese American chef has been creating buzz around town since he left Tocqueville and opened his own Iberian/Portuguese restaurant, Aldea in Spring last year.
After reading about the restaurant's attractive lunch deal at serious eats website, I gathered an army of male yaokuis and we marched to Aldea on a beautiful good friday afternoon to enjoy its sweet $24.10 lunch deal. I was not disappointed, and I'm pretty sure the boys were equally happy as well. The lunch menu was short and simple, with a good selections of appetizers, entrees and desserts, and you can go with prix fix or ala carte. We ordered Jamon Iberico, Jamon Serrano, Mussel Soup, Potato Soup, Skate Ala Plantxa and Arroz de pato etc. I'm a soup person, so I really enjoyed the mussel soup and potato soup. Arroz de pato, which is a rice dish with all the good stuffs such as chorizo, duck confit and cracklings on it was also the crowd pleaser. Skate a la plantxa was done nicely as well.
Aldea is perhaps one of the more exciting restaurants to have opened in NYC lately; it has a lot of potential. It also reminded me of the Alkimia or the Arzak/Mugaritz of Barcelona and San Sebastian. with less emphasis on the science of molecular gastronomy. I like this place, I really do and I can't wait to return for more good modern Iberian/Portuguese food!
*photos taken with iphone