Appetizing Event: Tasting at Calle Ocho, NYC

"Order Up" at Calle Ocho, NYC

A couple weeks ago, Calle Ocho, an Upper West side New York City restaurant, organized a tasting for New York City food bloggers. I’m still dreaming about the Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates. The Cured Salmon, Aji Amarillo, Sour Orange and Pineapple ceviche lingers in my mind. Their Colombian Sweet Corn Arepa reminds me of an airy version of my Grandmother’s hot-water corn cakes.

The Tasting at Calle Ocho, NYC
Images Above
(1) Beautiful artwork at the entrance/bar area (2.) Addictive mildly sweet rolls served in cigar boxes (3.) A refreshing glass of mojito (4.) Cured Salmon, Aji Amarillo, Sour Orange, Pineapple Ceviche (5.) Chef Alex García (6.) Colombian Sweet Corn Arepa, Ropa Viega, Creama Nata, Criolla Salad (7.) Marinated Aji Tuna, Ginger,Cilantro, Mustard Vinaigrette (8.) Red wine tasting (9.) Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates, Hearts of Palm, Cabrales (10.) Roasted Striped Bass, Serrano Ham-Chickpea, Roasted Pepper Sauce (11.) Cindy of (12.) Cuban Style “Steak Frites”, Traditional Chimichurri (13.) The ladies behind (14.) Dark Chocolate Cake, Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Tasting Menu at Calle Ocho, NYC

Calle Ocho is a fusion of Cuban, Peruvian, Dominican, Spanish, Venezuelan and Costa Rican cuisines. It originally opened in 1988 at 446 Columbus Avenue by Chefs Alex Garcia and Rodney Mitchell. It quickly became known for their weekend brunch that apparently requires reservations weeks in advance.

In July 2011, Calle Ocho reopened inside the Excelsior Hotel on 81st street, across the street from the American Museum of Natural History. At my table, the ladies of gave me a brief history of Calle Ocho (they’re regulars who remember Calle Ocho’s previous address). The paintings in the restaurant are collages from the previous location. They have eight different Sangrias. The Tropical White Sangria has mango, pineapple, lemongrass, passion fruit and rum. The Mulata Red Sangria has tamarind, vanilla and spice dark rum. Their wine list represents Spain, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Also, did I mention I met Cindy of and Andrea Chan of It’s always good to see Jackie of “The Diva Who Ate New York”.

Chef Alex Garcia prepared a variety of dishes representing what Calle Ocho offers. I’m definitely looking forward to returning soon to try their other dishes such as the Sweet Corn, Shrimp Enchilado, Goat Cheese and Pumpkin Seed Pesto; Duck Two-Ways, Lentil-Sweet Plantain Salad and Valencia Orange Sauce; and their Paella with lobster, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Chorizo, Chicken and Valencia Rice served with Tomato-Calamari Salad. Of course, the Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates always call my name.

Calle Ocho is located at 45th West 81st Street, NYC. Reservations are highly recommended at 212.873.5025 or online.

Rooster Ornament at Calle Ocho, NYC

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3 thoughts on “Appetizing Event: Tasting at Calle Ocho, NYC

  • September 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Wow! What an amazing event! The food is toatlly up my alley, how I wish I lived in NYC! Thanks for sharing!

  • September 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    If only everyone served bacon wrapped dates. Adding the cabrales is a nice touch. We’ve always had them with goat cheese or gorgonzola cheese. The entire meal looks delicious. Adding this to the list of must visits when the next NYC trip appears!

  • September 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    wow! thanks for the article. i saw these guys and had their wonderful ceviche at Saks for a tasting gala for City Harvest last year.

    i’m going to plan a date night here. I’ve never had bacon-wrapped dates before. good/bad?

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