Had dinner last night at stylish Hispaniola in Washington Heights (NE corner of 181st St. and Cabrini Blvd.). The place was mobbed with holiday parties so we had to eat at the bar.
The menu is going to change in January so what I saw last night will not be valid long, but I was impressed by the variety of dishes on a fairly small menu. As the name implies, all dishes are influenced by one or more Hispanic cuisines. Apps include perky seviche, rife with fresh lime flavor but a bit short on cilantro. Grilled shrimp were perfectly cooked: they snapped when bit into but were not at all rubbery, and came with a subtly hot sauce. Delicious! Crab cakes with the shrimp were good but upstaged by the shrimp. Apps are in the $8-10 range.
Entrees include several fish dishes (tuna, snapper, salmon), skirt steak frites with chimmichuri, grilled pork chops, and a chicken dish I don't recall. I had a special (only one last night, recited orally - not printed, and priced considerably higher than the rest of the menu) of langostines (the waiter called them shrimp) and steak in five sauces. I don't recall the sauces (one was tasty mushrooms) but two were spectacular and the others were very good. It was a bit of overkill though, and another diner told me the specials are often over the top a bit. Menu entrees are $16 to $22 or so.
I don't recall the sauces because the two of us shared two bottles from the small, well selected international (Argentina, Chile, US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia) wine list. Wine prices are also very reasonable with bottles starting at $20 and going up to $50, with most in the $25 to $35 range.
Desert was an okay tiramisu and what was the best flan I could imagine. Rich vanilla flavor at first, then luxurious caramel, with coffee undertones throughout. Surprisingly complex and very satisfying.
Following dinner we moved to the comfortable, well ventilated cigar lounge so my friend could indulge.
Considering the number of people at parties there the staff and managers were very attentive and helpful. A very pleasant experience overall and I'll certainly be back.
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