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Dining Destination: La Pulperia-Latin American+Amazing

The 80's stretch of Second Avenue-newly accessible -thanks to the Q train...(upper east side Manhattan)...doesn't lack for eateries...including the spacious La Pulperia-with its festive outdoor bulbs lighting up its entrance.
Still...that may not be enough to beckon passersby inside.

"That would be a big mistake," opined my dining companion-a confirmed gourmet foodie...who's earlier in the week -had lunch at the fancier Jean George-deeming it "meh."

What had both of  us gushing about every itty bitty morsel of food...was Chef Carlos Burroz's winning ways with sustainable seafood, inventive pairings of textures and spices...and welcoming service-with a no rush, aim to please MO.

On a recent mid week night-his casual"rustic'  spot-with a back dining room -simply decorated with typical south of the border touches-wide dark wood plank and black-white tiled (handmade, Mexico) floors, wooden grocery shelves proffering small goods (hence the name)...was filled with local couples (regulars)-relishing the specialty cocktails made with Pisco (Peruvian) and a top shelf tequila (there are CHOICES-mezcals too -Mexico), a pack of office workers dropping by and loading up on starters and sangria, and gal pals sipping Rosé wines -with its refreshing fruity acidic tastes- pairing well with the menu selections.

Our favs...
El Salmon Brulée- from the Raw Bar menu-practically brought tears of joy-it was that good.  Verlasso salmon tartare, fromage brûlée, strawberry+ginger, a citrus-lime-peppery-garlic leche de Tigre, with bulls blood micro greens. No surprise-we noticed other diners digging into this too. Olé Olé!!!! ($16)

Also from the Raw Bar section-Shrimp Ceviche-with smooth creamy sauce-balancing  the chewy shrimp-w/  avocado mousse, coconut flakes, crisp red onions+fresh corn, ahi amarilio- with leche de tigre -a citrus based spicy marinade (Peru) ($16), There are also inventive salads and tough to please kid popular starters like El Guacamole-with cotija cheese, cilantro, tomato, onion and crisp corn tortillas chips ($12) 

Fresh juicy Crab Meat Black Ravioli-hand made pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and creamy saffron clam sauce ($28) sop up with grilled bread. Pasta lovers will admire (and inhale) this creative take on an Italian  dish...a wonderful balance of flavors.
A wooden plank-subs for a few hunger banishing entrées including this delicious moist Verlasso Salmon (from Chile) with five ramekins of sides (Cafuelitas) from the protein laden Las Tablas menu section. BTW-those sides are worth departing from a no carbs vow-with a spinach mac+cheese, a cool eggplant chambota-kind of reminded us of ratatouille with heat vs tomato, a crisp celery root gratin, fresh grilled broccoli rabe, and a chimichurri sauce-a traditional Argentinian/Uruguay pesto-with parsley+garlic, oregano. Other tempting choices include the trio of  Signature Dishes-like the gluten free Pacu Fish Ribs (grilled fish form Brazil, orange chipotle, BBQ sauce and coconut rice). 
yes-that grilled Broccoli Rabe was good...seasoned with a bit of heat-flecked red peppers

Even non-dessert types...may want to reconsider...

Fresh made crepe-caramel sauce-fresh berries and a creamy gelato like ice cream-mango -passion fruit flavored.

Also crazy good...a scoop of gold flecked rich chocolate mousse-which has a thicker more ice creamy texture than airy  French version-with aromatic soothing vanilla ice cream and a bursting fresh berry-chocolate chunk 'salad' side. 

On a gluten free or vegetarian diet? No worries-the menu is marked accordingly (GF, V)

Details: La Pulperia: 1626 Second Avenue btw 84th/85th Streets, Lunch (M-Fri 12-4PM), Dinner (M-Th, Sun 4-11PM, Fri-Sat 4-12AM), Brunch (Sat, Sun 11AM-4PM) and Happy Hour Sunday-Friday 4-7PM, all day Monday,

Other fun stuff-Brazilian Jazz on Monday night (7PM). On demand cooking/signature cocktail making classes,

FYI: There are two other La Pulperia locations (Theater District-371 West 46th Street -Btw 8/9th Avenues , Midtown East-151 East 57th Street) offsite catering and festive party rooms are available.