THE LATIN LOUNGE
Byline: Karen Robinovitz
NEW YORK — Bistro Latino is about indulging in a culture known for its passion.
The South American restaurant/nightclub, at 1711 Broadway, is owned by Rafael Palomino, who is the chef; Avi Najar, and Mo Gad. The menu sports the flavors of American and French-influenced Colombian, Cuban, Argentine and Ecuadoran cuisine. According to Palomino, popular dishes include skirt steak churrasco with herb marinate and mojo — a Cuban lime-based stock — and yucca fries, the spicy tuna and avocado sandwich with sweet plantains and seven-grain bread, or a paella that can be prepared to serve up to 30.
“There’s nothing like the goat-cheese cheesecake,” Palomino said of his signature dessert.
Bistro Latino also offers New Yorkers another aspect of Latin heritage — music.
Every Wednesday at 8 p.m., it’s tango time. With a four-piece Latin band, dancers Armando Orzuza and Daniela Arcuri of the New York Tango Orchestra give free lessons, which are followed by an elaborate multi-costume show of authentic Argentine tango moves.
In a few weeks, Thursday nights will be dedicated to the mambo, with a four-piece Latin band, and on Fridays and Saturdays, an eight-piece band jams until 3 a.m.
The large, open space creates a tropical ambience with scattered palm trees, wicker furniture, cushy beige banquets, a decadent bar, a cozy lounge and a big, circular dance floor.
“It’s nouveau Latino,” Palomino said.
Prices range from $15.95 to $21.95 for entrees. Bistro Latino is open from 5:45 p.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.