People like to rag on the Upper East Side – but as someone who has lived in the ‘hood for three years, I’ve gotta, say it has improved BIG time recently.
There are tons of new restaurants and bars, along with the long-time neighborhood favorites.
I was recently tasked with choosing a restaurant for myself and 8 family members on a Sunday night. It actually ended up being my father’s suggestion to check out the Upper East Side location of La Pulperia (there is another in Hell’s Kitchen).
La Pulperia has been around on the UES since September 2014 and is named after the general stores found throughout South America. La Pulperia’s menu features food from the many different countries of Latin America, and our waiter talked us through each section and its inspiration.
The seafood-heavy menu features pastas, crudos, a raw bar, tacos, salads and more.
But we started with drinks, naturally.
The Smoky Room
I ordered The Smoky Room which was hands down the best cocktail I have ever had in my life. That’s no exaggeration – I have put a great deal of thought into whether or not to make this claim and The Smoky Room deserves the title. House mescal & Milagro with passion fruit puree, fresh pomegranate juice and agave nectar are the ingredients that make up this cocktail. Though the description sounds fruity – I promise you that “smoky” is not a misnomer. Somehow, this drink is simultaneously fruity, tropical, and smoky! Our waiter explained that they torch the drink to create the smoky flavor.
By the end of the night I had also tried the El Chilango, courtesy of the bartender, and it was also an incredibly impressive drink full of flavor. These drinks seriously blew me away. The El Chilango is made with Rancho Alegre Tequila, Cointreau orange liquor, tamarind nectar and a piquant Habanero & salt rim. Talk about sweet and spicy.
We ordered guacamole for the table which was good, but nothing special.
My parents and I split three different entrees.
Farro, parsnips, beets, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, butternut squash and an orange maple vinaigrette
We ordered ours with salmon that was cooked and seasoned perfectly. This salad was a grain salad, which I didn’t necessarily expect, but also didn’t mind. It was hearty and filling and full of fall flavors.
Lobster & Baked Egg
Fresh Maine lobster, frame baked egg, herbrs, crema de blue cheese, fresh cream, truffled scented toasted bread
This was soo rich, creamy and decadent – especially once the egg broke open and the yolk mixed in with the cheese and cream. There were big chunks of lobster and somehow, it wasn’t overpowered by everything else going on in the dish.
Perfectly grilled proteins accompanied by 5 seasonal “cazuelitas”
We ordered the “pulpo” or octopus along with the 5 seasonal sides which I can’t remember now (I believe there was a potato salad and grilled broccoli rabe). All I know is they were tasty and fresh and the octopus was tender and not at all chewy – just the way I like it!
We even managed to make a few family members try to octopus and they were shocked at how meaty and un-fish-like it was!
Never one to pass on dessert, we ordered two and were surprised when a total of 4 shower up at the table. Obviously, all of them needed to be sampled.
My least favorite was the flan and my favorite was the tres leches cake!
La Pulperia is a gorgeous restaurant inside – with a MASSIVE bar. There’s tons of space, and it’s beautifully decorated.
Our meal at La Pulperia ended up being one that won’t soon be forgotten by my family – thanks not only to incredible food but incredible service, incredible cocktails – dancing, shots, meeting the chef, and more. It was truly a night to remember and I can’t wait to head back to this fun spot for happy hour!
La Pulperia UES has happy hour Sunday – Friday from 4 pm – 7 pm and all day on Mondays. They also have a Ladies night on Tuesdays (5 pm – 7 pm first drink free) and Live Music on Mondays (7 pm Brazilian Jazz) and Wednesdays (7 pm Flamenco Night).