Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day 995 : Melibea

Set off of Greenwich Avenue on Bank Street, just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of Greenwich Village, sits Jesus Nunez's newest restaurant. Nunez started out his New York City restaurant career with a modernist Spanish restaurant in the Upper West Side, Gastroarte, once known as Graffit. Unfortunately although the food was playful and artful with a unique Spanish flair, the concept did not stick. But what did stick was his -- bright and airy farmhouse style space -- Barraca, actually around the corner from Melibea. At Barraca, you find Spanish classic dishes done well -- good for groups or just a drink with friends.

Melibea, is Nunez's newest foray into the dining scene -- a contemporary Mediterranean joint. Walking into the space, there's a sleek meets farmhouse feel. A lively bar area greets the diner followed by an elevated eating space.

The menu itself is composed of shareable small plates, appetizers, salads, and entrees. Told by the waitress that the shareable plates come out pretty quickly we decided to order one of those to start -- Stuffed Mozzarella with confit tomatoes and fresh herbs served with grilled bread. So much for quick, this simple and classic Mozzarella preparation took quite a while. My first thought was that this was going to Mozzarella stuffed with confit tomatoes and fresh herbs as the menu indicates it is, but no, this was Burrata served with confit tomatoes and fresh herbs, big difference there! Granted, you cannot go wrong with decadent and unctuous creamy cheese served with the rustic juiciness of the tomatoes and the bright aromatic vegetal qualities of the herbs.

So what next?

We had their Falafel Salad with spinach, raisins, almonds, Labneh and a tahini-lemon dressing. The salad was delicious and flavorful and the falafels were done to perfection!

We also split two of their vegetable sides -- their brussel sprouts with preserved lemon and pimenton along with their fried cauliflower with raisins and spicy mayo. The brussel sprouts were not at all what I expected -- a spicy salad of brussel sprout leaves with a citrus brightness but lacking in one unifying flavor moment. And what of the cauliflower? Well it was pretty much tempura fried cauliflower.

Their wine list on the other hand has some decent deals on wines by the glass along with boasting an extensive cocktail list.

Go for a drink and a small nibble in the front bar space. It's in a great location and has a warm congenial vibe.

2 Bank Street

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