New York Restaurants

La Vara, Brooklyn

January 15, 2013

I’m always a little hesitant when it comes to reviewing fantastic restaurants in my neighborhood, but as much as I’d like to keep La Vara to myself, looks like the word is already out as shown by the small crowds lining the sidewalk on Clinton street most nights. One more tapas restaurant rarely seems like something to write about unless it serves something so distinct and unique you have to travel ‘all the way to Brooklyn’ to see what the fuss is about.

Jewish-Spanish cuisine is, I must admit, something I’m really not familiar with and La Vara is on its way to putting it on the culinary map. It’s not especially daunting as you’ll still recognize a few of your favorite dishes but it feels special enough to make you want to know more about the history of medieval Jewish and Islamic cuisines that existed in southern Spain a long time ago as you bite into the excellent Moorish fare.

What’s daunting though is the menu. Its sheer size lists anything from bites, breads, fried stuff, cold dishes, hot plates, salads, etc. and that’s not including the 6-8 specials every day which means only one thing: you should come here with a group to sample as much as you can. Trust the owners of Txikito and El Quinto Pino in Manhattan to bring their fearless cooking and love of Spain amongst the beautiful brownstones of cutesy Cobble Hill and whatever you order will be a memorable trip, even better washed down with their homemade sangria…

A special salad of sauteed green beans, serrano ham, and chopped eggs

Coca de Cebes – sweet onion and blue goat cheese on Mallorcan flat bread

Alcachofa – fried artichokes paired with a creamy anchovy aioli

Ajo Blanco – scallop tartare is garnished tableside with white gazpacho made from Marcona almonds

Berenjena con miel – crispy eggplant with honey, melted cheese, nigella seed

Another daily special – fried bread, chorizo, grapes

Albondigas (lamb meatballs) with mint yogurt

Fideúa with clams, squid, and shrimp

Spanish goats milk cheese with candied squash

Natillas De Arroz Con Leche – cinnamon-rose and rice scented custard with grapefruit and rosemary

Egipcio – orange blossom scented date walnut tart, lemon curd, sweet cream

La Vara
268 Clinton Street  
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: (718) 422-0065

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