First Taste: Lunch at Cienega in New Rochelle

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Just before the holidays, I had brunch 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, those windows 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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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

1 Comment

  1. Joellen Finnie on

    Glad the restaurant was reviewed by you. My hubby & I ate dinner there about a month ago. It was terrific – great presentation – great food. It was quite crowded – so it was on the noisy side. This is a happening place. I live right around the corner – lucky me.

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