Although my summer in the City has been quite busy and filled with long work hours (which has left little time for trying new restaurants), I knew I had to check out Richard Sandoval's Pampano restaurant in Midtown East before my time here was up. Hearing rave reviews about this Coastal Mexican restaurant's fresh seafood and beautiful ambiance from my foodie friends couldn't keep me at bay for long, so I decided to have my supper here last Sunday night.
|Photo Source: Pampano|
The meal started off on a high note, with a delicious serving of brightly colored fresh guacamole and freshly fried chips ($14). The guac had big chunks of avocado and I liked how it could be adjusted taste-wise based on your tolerance level for spiciness.
We followed the guac and chips with a four course ceviche tasting ($34) and Pulpo a la Parilla ($15), a grilled octopus and cactus appetizer. These items were the highlight of the night. The quad of Cameron (shrimp / lime / avocado / chile habanero), Atun (big eye tuna / pear tomatoes / cilantro / serrano / ginger and cucumber broth), Halibut (halibut / cilantro / mint / mango) and Mahi Mahi (mahi mahi / citrus-tomato / chile serrano) was presented in a gorgeous bowl of filled with ice. All the ceviches were incredibly refreshing and light, but the best part was each individual plate's distinct flavor profiles and ingredient constitutions.
The Pulpo a la Parilla was also excellent - the octopus had a nice texture that was crispy on the outside but soft and sinewy on the inside. The light lemon vinaigrette dressing was a great addition and made the dish flavorful but not overbearingly rich.
Following the ceviche and octopus was the main course, the Callos de Hacha ($32) - pan seared scallops served with crispy serrano ham and served on top papas brava (white potatoes) glazed with an orange-oregano mojo sauce. This dish was a mixed bag. The scallops were super tender, perfectly cooked and nicely seared - however, the serrano ham was almost crispy to the point of burnt (Iactually cut my mouth as I was eating it) and I felt the potatoes made the dish a bit too heavy.
Although somewhat pricey, the quality of the food and excellent service makes this place a worthwhile splurge. So if you want to have an upscale Mexican food experience with a bent towards fresh seafood, Pampano is the place to go!
209 East 49th Street
New York, NY 10017