When I read Marcie Turney and her partner Valerie Safran were to close Bindi, their moderately priced Midtown Village Indian restaurant, I was more than disappointed. The food was bright, vibrant and bursting with flavor.
Three months ago, Bindi morphed into Jamonera. After a recent dinner, I am pleased to report that the restaurant serves bright, vibrant dishes bursting with flavor with a big, bold Spanish accent.
The restaurant takes its name from the contraption that holds a large ham for easy slicing. It’s a small place with a warm welcoming feel. The tables are wood set with linen napkins. Red is the color of choice here — the bar is lit with luscious red lights, which can entice anyone’s appetite.
The masterful kitchen is in the capable hands of executive chef Turney, chef de cuisine Paul Lyons and chef de cuisine Nikki Hill. Our server Jess answered our questions and set the pace for one of the finest meals in recent memory. Flawless food and flawless service is what you can expect from Jamonera.
There are tapas, salads and larger plates to share. There were so many dishes that enticed Sandy and I.
We began our trip to sunny Southern Spain with iberico ham croquetas ($5) and berenjenas ($6). The former consisted of two bite-size morsels of Ibores cheese with a dreamy horseradish crema, which I lapped up with my fork. The croquetas were coated in pickled mustard seeds and served with iberico lardo. The latter can replace French fries for me any day. These were crispy eggplant fries, slightly salty, served with smoked tomato salmorejo and topped with shards of manchego cheese. Sandy and I raved over their flavor and crispy texture.
Whenever seasonal ingredients pop up on a menu, I always order them. Ramps were featured in asparagus tosta ($7), which was listed in the toasts and small sandwich section of the bill of fare. Luscious grilled bread was topped with grilled ramps, tiny grilled asparagus, cadi urgelia cheese, heady truffle oil with bits of jamon iberico. I could make a meal out of several orders of this tosta. The ingredients complemented each other in a tasty manner of contrasting flavors and textures.
One of the printed specials was an artichoke ($9) prepared with olive oil, lemon, roasted peppers and cheese. It was a beautiful rite of spring. Sandy and I were in culinary heaven.
The midsize vegetable was grilled, sliced and served in a round ramekin brimming with balanced flavors. The artichoke was sliced into three pieces so Sandy and I shared the last slice. We wish there were four slices in this dish because it was just so darn good.
“I have to prepare artichokes this week,” I told my sister.
Fava beans are in the market as well. Turney and her staff made fine use of these spring beauties creating habas y jamon ($9), a salad of favas, English peas, whipped sheep’s milk ricotta cheese, la quercia acorn edition jamon and a hint of fresh lemon juice. I have never seen such creativity in building a salad of spring vegetables. I prefer ricotta and feta for that matter made with sheep’s milk because the flavor is divine and so is the texture. I assume the pigs, which later became this phenomenal ham, were served acorns for their supper for it imparted a slightly nutty flavor.
Since Spanish cuisine has become so popular throughout America, bunelos ($9) have become the dessert of choice. Jess described the dish perfectly.
Sandy and I dove into four square, fluffy, light-as-a-feather donuts that took me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. She was a master at making light donuts. These were coated in granulated sugar and arrived with a warm hot chocolate sauce, which we scraped up with our spoons.
The meal was flawless and the staff, left us to enjoy each other’s company and conversation, serves and clears with ease.
Three extraordinary tips of the toque to Jamonera. SPR
105 S. 13th St.
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