Jewish and Moorish-influenced Spanish flavors pervade at La Vara (268 Clinton Street, Brooklyn; 718-422-0065), Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s spot located along a sleepy residential Brooklyn street. Whether ensconced by exposed brick or seated beneath the massive tree that juts into the tiny outdoor seating area, diners enjoy the couple’s evocative and often hearty plates, like cumin-spiced half-chicken and bricks of shredded lamb served with scallions. But we were also delighted to find out that Spain has a pasta tradition.
Hailing from the Southeastern city of Murcia, gurullos are airy and hand-rolled stubby semolina noodles poached in milk. Sometimes flavored with saffron, La Vara’s kitchen drenches them in grassy goat butter and seasons them with bright, lemony sumac. For an extra barnyardy taste, you can (and should) get this primo pasta with the addition of ground goat meat — the animal’s usual gaminess is only hinted at, while its richness and texture bolster the rest of the ingredients on the plate.
In honor of our Best of New York City issue (available now!), the Village Voice has been combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse our 100 Favorite Dishes page.