Patrice Costa here, back again as a guest blogger! I wasn’t really planning on celebrating Cinco de Mayo when I made plans to get together with a friend this month, but our dinner at Ramiro’s 954, a new Latin American restaurant in Mahopac, was definitely the perfect venue.
When it first opened, someone sent me (and about 30 of their closest friends) an email about this amazing new restaurant. The replies back from that one email were so overwhelming that I couldn’t wait to find out what the buzz was all about. Now, here I am back for the third time. From the beautifully decorated dining room, to the lively bar, to the flavorful dishes from Argentina, Peru or Ecuador, Ramiro’s is all about the unexpected.
My friend, Angela, and I were seated in the main dining room where we had a bird’s eye view into the open kitchen. Watching the action in the kitchen is always interesting to me, but if you are in the mood for a quieter table, the upstairs dining room is perfect. Chef Ramiro Jimenez and his wife, Jan, have created a genuine warm and friendly atmosphere in this newly opened restaurant, and we loved that both of them stopped by our table to chat.
My glass of homemade white sangria was a great start to the meal. The delicious combination of Spanish white wine, triple sec, peach schnapps and chunks of fruit erased any ancient memories of the bad Yago sangria version. I’m pretty sure it will become the hit of the summer with its lightly sweet and refreshing taste.
With so many interesting dishes to choose from, it was difficult to narrow down what appetizers to share! Angela decided on the Empanadas de Picadillo which were golden, light pastry pockets filled with seasoned ground beef that was a mixture of warm flavors with a surprising sweetness from the raisins.
All photos by Margaret Rizzuto & Mike Trapasso of Margaret Rizzuto Photography
My crispy rolled Tacos Dorados were filled with succulent and juicy pulled pork topped with cheese crumbles and a mild chipotle cream.
For my entree, I ordered the Costillas en Vino Tinto (boneless short ribs braised in red wine). The beef shredded easily and was amazingly moist and tender. It was served with a creamy celery root puree which complemented the pungent garlic and parsley chimichurri sauce topping. The side of yucca frita were an interesting twist on potato fries, but I found the texture a little too firm and starchy.
Angela had the Pernil con Mojo (pork shank). The outside was crispy and the inside was fall off the bone meaty goodness. The avocado tomatillo sauce was just the right balance of creaminess and acidity. A side dish of fluffy rice and whole black beans was a welcome change from the all too common mushy refried beans.
We ended our girls’ night out by enjoying the live music for the Cinco de Mayo celebration and sharing the Flan de Vanilla for dessert which was a light custard surrounded by a buttery caramel sauce.
During each one of my enjoyable dinners at Ramiro’s, all of the dishes have been about clean, fresh flavors with just a hint of spiciness. This is definitely NOT the overpowering, sear-your-tongue heat that some may have been led to expect of Latin cuisine. So, if you are looking for something a little different and unexpected, go to Ramiro’s 954 to experience the true flavors of Latin America.
Better yet, come join chef Ramiro on Monday, May 23rd for A Culinary Tour of Latin America through a 5-course dinner and demonstration organized by Culinary Collaboration (to register click the link above or email me at email@example.com).
The 411 on Ramiro’s 954 is coming. Til then: 954 Route 6, Mahopac. 845-621-3333, ramirorestaurant.com.