I love making up crap titles for these posts. (see here, and here).
I kept my promise to myself and my blog and made it out for some delish Clinton Hill food, and boy was it worth it. We took the C train home from 'the city' and got off at Lafayette for a nice evening's walk through the neighborhood. We were headed to the other side so we got to walk through all the beautiful brownstones and townhouses in the area. Lot's of green on the trees and those crazy purple flowered trees (anyone know what they are?) are in full bloom. (We have one right outside our window too). G-pup and I were hungry, so it was hard to walk past all the delicious smelling restaurants we are so lucky to have in this neighborhood. Graziella's almost sucked us in with their rooftop dining, but we were almost at our destination and good things were promised ahead.
This evening we were headed to Luz. I didn't entirely know what to expect, I had heard 'nuevo latino' 'pan latin' and 'south american' bandied about but wasn't entirely sure what that would mean. What we found was a lovely demure restaurant bustling with loud music and a beautiful and diverse crowd enjoying eclectic drinks and fresh flavorful food carefully crafted. I loved the ambiance, it was something that I just couldn't picture finding in Manhattan any longer, it was a beautiful Brooklyn evening.
We were seated immediately found the whole staff to be friendly, attentive and helpful. You get a lovely serving of plantain chips and spicy sauce when you are seated, we ate those up right away and ordered a beer for G-pup and a Cava Guava for me. The drinks menu was full of lovely tropical fruity drinks and I had trouble choosing between the Melontini, a Caipirinha (love those) the Cava Guava - the lychee juice in the Cava Guava was the deciding factor.
We decided to try the arepas for appetizer - they were perfectly made, crisp and crunchy on the outside and tender and sweet on the inside, not at all oily, mushy or greasy. Lovely melted cheese oozing out from within, and paired with a tangy watercress salad on the side.
We had thought about ordering antojitos and ceviche for the dinner, but G-pup was really intrigued by the Salmon al Pimenton (tender, pan seared with cilantro mashed potatoes, a spicy cress salad and crunchy baby shrimps) and I couldn't get my mind off the Palmito, a salad of hearts of palm, grilled mango and a ginger-orange dressing.
So I chose that for my dinner. It worked out perfectly, the meal was filling, but I didn't feel heavy. We thought long and hard about the incredibly rich sounding desserts, but decided to pass this time, promising next time to save room for them. (And I can't wait to go to brunch - mmm, guayaba pancakes, coconut french toast and tortillas espanol).
It was a really lovely evening and I truly doubt that one could find such a great mix of ambiance, great food and friendly service in Manhattan any longer. It may be true that Brooklyn is now a much cooler place to be than 'the city' but then, I always thought that.
177 Vanderbilt at Myrtle
Hours: Sun-Wed 5:30-11 pm
Thur-Sat 5:30 pm-12 am;
Sat-Sun: 11 am-3:30 pm (brunch)
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Other reviews: Citysearch, New York Magazine, New York Times, Go Brooklyn, Eating for Brooklyn, Latina.com