Brunch with Kelli at Cienega

Greg and I went to Kelli and Patrick’s church on Sunday morning to see the little ones in their Christmas pageant. Rory was a shepherd and Sarah and Hugh were sheep. Unfortunately, they shed their costumes faster than you could say “Silent Night,” so I have no photos of them. (Maybe Kelli does and will share!) What I do have, though, are photos of the brunch that Kelli and I shared afterwards, at a great little place in New Rochelle called Cienega. We only tried a few things, but every one of them led me to believe that the Neuvo Latino food there is nothing short of astounding. One particularly great dish was this dessert, a deconstructed key lime pie:

It has cookie-crumb coated vanilla ice cream, key lime cream (which was more like a curd), and a toasted meringue that reminded me of Marshmallow Fluff. In a good way.

The meal started out just as terrific, with a lovely little bread plate with corn muffins that came with passionfruit butter:

And the coffee was hot and strong:

This soup, called a chupe, is a Peruvian-style chowder, with rich and creamy broth, sweet shrimp, parmesan, corn (and hominy) and parmesan cheese. It was fabulous:

The room is pretty sleek, too. It’s in a triangular-shaped space with lots of windows.

Unfortunately, they look out onto a car dealership. But if you’re facing the restaurant, you can look down at the bar and see this cheerful mural:

The owners, Pedro Munoz and Vivian Torres, are architects, and also own Luz, a (well-regarded) Nuevo Latino restaurant in Fort Greene. And from the few dishes I tried, I can see they made a good choice in chef Jorge Adriazola. Our two sandwiches, a Cubano and a skirt steak, were filled with top-notch ingredients and had  a wallop of flavor that was still balanced and fresh.

Pan Con Entrana: Skirt steak, chimichurri mayo, avocado, onion and tomato on ciabatta.

Cubano: Slow roasted pulled pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and passionfruit mustard on ciabatta:

Then we shared that terrific dessert. Once again:

I’ll be back with a dinner report as soon as I can.

The 411 on Cienega.

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