Yerba Buena

My sister told me about this place a while back, and she later got me and my wife a gift certificate so that we’d give it a shot. Specifically, she told me to try the “poquito picante” cocktail, made with gin, cucumber, jalapeno and lime. It was really delicious. It had that heat from the jalapeno, but it was rounded out nicely with the sweetness from the lime syrup and then cooled off with the cucumber. My wife tried the “concoction,” a fresh fruit riff on a classic egg white whiskey sour. We ordered both cocktails at the bar while we waited for our table, and we were happy to learn that all drinks were half price for an all-day happy hour at the bar on Sundays.

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We started with a hamachi ceviche. This was fresh and flavorful, and garnished with sesame seeds and dried, puffed corn. It had a mild flavor and wasn’t too overpowering on the citrus.

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We also shared this trio of fries: hearts of palm, avocado and watermelon.

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These were really interesting. The avocado was super creamy, as expected. The hearts of palm had some starchiness to it, about which we were both a bit surprised. They tasted great though. The watermelon was an even bigger surprise, however. It was sweet, yet savory, and crunchy, yet juicy. It went perfectly with the smokey ketchup that was served with these fries.

For her entree, my wife ordered the Lechon Confitado, which is suckling pig with sunchoke-black truffle puree and kale-red chiles.

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This was the winning dish. The pork was cooked perfectly – like a juicy pulled or shredded pork without the over-saucing that typically occurs at BBQ joints. The confit coking method surely helps in that regard. It was topped with some greens and pickled red onion. The earthy and delicious sunchoke puree was drizzled around the plate.

I intended to order the rib eye that was listen on the menu, but they were out. Instead, they offered me a skirt steak, so I gave that a try.

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It was cooked nicely to medium rare, but just wasn’t up to standard with some of the other places I’ve had skirt recently.

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I’d say this came in at about a six out of ten for a combination of flavor and quality. It was juicy, but did have a bit of bleed-out, and lacked a good sear on the outside.

It was served with an avocado, tomato and onion salad, and some yucca fritters.

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For dessert, we shared the “panqueques,” crepes filled with dolce de leche and served with a scoop of ice cream. The menu said it would be pistachio ice cream, which we were excited about, but they gave us chocolate instead.

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In any case, dessert was delicious. The crepes were made fresh, and the dolce de leche was smooth and creamy.

This is definitely a place worth visiting if you’re in the Alphabet City area and looking for a bite or cocktail.

YERBA BUENA
23 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

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