Smell that? It’s the scent of Mamajuana wafting through Manhattan’s streets. No, not that herbal aroma, that’s something else entirely.
Chef Ricardo Cardona (Sofrito) is taking his Dominican-Spanish cuisine and branching out from his original Inwood location. His second spot, on Amsterdam at 88th Street, boasts a menu of big flavors. Settle at the long bar or into a red banquette to dig into crispy calamari with bananas and cashews, washed down with an umbrella-ready cocktail. Or fill your stomach with sausage-stuffed chicken before imbibing. The eponymous cocktail — a mix of rum, wine, honey, roots, spices, and herbs that holds health benefits, according to the Taino Indians of the Dominican Republic — is fairly potent.
Take advantage of New Year’s Eve to check out the new notch in Chef Cardona’s belt. The new location will be offering a $45-per-person menu featuring lobster corn quesadillas, Pollito al Ladrillo (cornish hen with potato-wild mushroom-chorizo hash), and paella. After 10 p.m. they’ll be upping the ante with two open-bar options — $90 for a regular AYCD and passed snacks; $125 for premium liquor.
Don’t expect the Mamajuana Cafe chainlet to stop on the Upper West Side. A location at the Radisson Hotel on 48th Street is waiting for its liquor license. And we wouldn’t be surprised if the concept made its way downtown as well.
It seems south-of-the-border fare will be spreading through the city in early 2012. With Barrio 47, Tortaria, and Empellon Cocina’s anticipated openings, Mamajuana Cafe looks to be in good company. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.