If at first you don’t succeed…you know how the saying goes.
Andanada 141 is the third attempt to create a destination Spanish restaurant at a particularly cursed address, following on the heels of Graffit and Gastroarte. The graffiti-inspired décor remains largely intact, despite the new name, which refers to the top tier of seats at a bullfighting ring.
Chef Jesús Núñez, the chef behind the first two attempts, is gone. Replacing him is Manuel Berganza, who earned two Michelin stars at two different Madrid restaurants. You’d think those chops would be worth at least a look, but after seven months, the Daily News has supplied the only pro review, awarding four stars out of five.
I guess modern Spanish cuisine is a tough sell in this neighborhood. On a Friday evening, before the ballet, the restaurant was not half full. That’s a pity. Andanada 141 is the best of the three Spanish restaurants that have tried to make a go of it in this space.
The cuisine is more conservative than Jesús Núñez’s sometimes baffling creations—which we mostly liked, but not everyone did. We had time to try only a few items. I look forward to trying a lot more.
The menu offers tapas in a wide price range ($6–25), entrées ($28–32), paellas ($24–25 per person, minimum two guests), and desserts ($9).
In Pulpo a la Gallega ($16; above left), tender chunks of octopus were in a potato purée, seasoned with olive oil and pimienton de vera, or what tasted to us like chives and paprika. This was one of the best appetizers we’e had all year, rich and satisfying.
We were also fond of the Migas al Pastor ($13; above right), a crockpot of chistorra (Basque sausage) with breadcrumbs and grapes, topped with a poached egg. Good as it was, it would have made a far better impression had it not been served at the same time as our entrée, the paella, which deserved the stage all to itself.
Four paellas are offered: seafood, meat, vegetarian, and mixed. The carne ($25; above), which we ordered, was one of the best paellas I’ve had in a while, a happy brew of pork belly, rabbit, chicken, carrots, chorizo, red peppers, and yellow rice. For one week only, the restaurant was offering a free pitcher of sangria (very good) to go with the paella, so we didn’t explore the wine list. That’ll be for next time.
We dined at the bar, where it was sometimes a challenge to get the server’s attention, despite the restaurant not being full. That, coupled with the late delivery of our second tapa, took the edge slightly off what was otherwise an excellent showing. It’ll take a few more visits to establish if Andanada 141 lives up to the promise of the three dishes we tried. We are certainly looking forward to it.
Andanada 141 (141 W. 69th Street, east of Broadway, Upper West Side)
Food: Modern Spanish, but fairly conservative, and very well prepared
Service: Earnest and friendly, but needs polishing
Ambaince: A comfortable UWS townhouse, artfully decorated
Rating: Critic’s Pick