Oficina Latina is a nolita eatery inspired by the cuisines along the 1950s Pan American highway. The space has a vintage feel, delineated into small sections–bar, living room, dining room, cafe–all brought together by a gilded ceiling. It was a lot to take in at once, even with my barely alcoholic blackberry pina colada, but there was definitely some method to the design madness.
The place is known for its cocktails, but personally I found them to be fun but short of mind blowing. I had only one or two, and I heard good things about the ginger lychee mojito – so not all is lost. I’ll be back for brunch to venture deeper into their cocktail menu. Something to note, there are hundreds of rums and tequilas, but only one lone vodka and gin for the die hard drinkers. Worry not, more on your options later.
We start the night with a wonderful ceviche, thinly sliced scallops and calamari lime poached. The menu suggested hint of cilantro was missing for me, which is perfect, since i’m somewhat less partial to the increasingly ubiquitous herb. Some bites sometimes was a little too acidic for my taste, but overall, fantastically refreshing.
The next dish was the crown jewel of the tasting menu, pulpo! The grilled octopus was perfect, not doomed to gumminess, but charred in perfect proportion. The dressing also was light (again, how kind of them to stay their hand on the cilantro), and simply allowed the natural flavors to ooze.
The tuna skewers were a little less exciting, but still, solidly prepared. Some small difficulty in getting the right composition, but the flavors were there.
We followed with blood sausage and chorizo. Even for my sturdy constitution for the savory, I winced slightly as the contents of the sausage gushed onto my plate. Each forkful was complex, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I had trouble discerning what I was tasting. For those who love blood sausage, I am told that this was a great rendition of it, so I encourage those enthusiasts to give it a savor.
Finally, we end with tres leches. Mercifully, it was light, with all the sweet condensed milk flavor one could ask for at the end of a 5-course tasting. Somewhat short of sensational, but my plate was still nice and clean.
The real conclusion to the meal was the little rum shot ensemble. With slices of orange dipped into three innocuous lines of sugar, cinnamon, and coffee, it was definitely one of the more enjoyable shots I’ve had over the years. This arrangement will most certainly make an appearance at my next dinner party.
All in all, a solid meal. What more, Oficina Latina apparently serves brunch everyday for $15 with a drink. If I didn’t work so far away I’d be a regular.
What does this rating mean?
The meal was complimentary, though it did not affect my opinion nor were we required to write about the meal.
24 Price Street
New York, NY 10012