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Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

25 Ave A, East Village, NY 10009

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March 25, 2009

From the outside looking in, this place looks like a mafia hangout. I would have never expected this establishment to house some of the best food and drink in the East Village. They’ve gotten a lot of hype for their cocktails (and deservedly so, one of the best dark & stormys I’ve ever had) yet the food is just as good. Each dish was presented with a nice mix of Latin flavors from all across South America. At first glance, I thought the menu was a bit expensive, but the quality of the food totally justified it. For a compact restaurant, they do well with that space so you don’t feel cramped – plus the bar area is great for drinks while you wait for your table. The staff was extremely friendly and very attentive. The owner was around the entire time, making sure everyone was taken care of and everyone from the waiters on down to the bus boys/girls were on top of their game. Good drinks. Good food. Good service. Good vibe. What more can you ask for?

Food Rundown:

This was a fantastic way to start off the meal. It’s a little basket full of finger food samplings of chorizo, tostones, yucca, and chicharron with some sick spicy salsa. We ripped through this thing in under a minute and then got a second one. Too good, and it was a nice change of pace from chips and salsa or guacamole.

Yerba Buena goes thinner and crispier with their empanada dough than the norm, and boy does it make a difference. The outside of their spinach, manchego cheese, and fig salad empanada almost tasted like a good pie crust. Also, it was nice and moist and the perfect sized appetizer.

Fish Tacos
I never want to eat another taco without chipotle slaw again. These are tacos de pescado done right. Better than La Esquina.

Costilla (Yerba Mate Braised Beef Short Ribs)
Cooked perfectly, this bad boy melts in your mouth like a good short rib is supposed to. The pomegranate glaze mixed nicely with the potatoes – throw in some skinny shoe-string fries (a must as a side to mix in with all main courses) on top of that and you’ve got a nice forkful of heaven.

Lechon (Suckling Pig)
Personally, I thought this was the best dish of the night. My brother thought it needed a little more crispiness, but that’s what the shoestring fries were for, which I mixed in. A heaping portion of chopped up pig, yucca puree and habanaero mojo de ajo (whatever that might be), the Lechon filled me up right. If you plan on functioning away from the couch after your meal, pick something else.

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