Overlooking Park Avenue South, with cool winds washing over diners chatting exuberantly while nibbling tapas, Tasca Chino certainly evokes an old Spanish pintxos bar. But a mash-up is in store, proven by the funky murals of bullfights, David Bowie and Chairman Mao on the walls. Chef Alex Ureña of Rayuela fame brings his deft balance of Spanish and Chinese foods to small plates like the Grilled Octopus ($17), with chunks of avocado and the peanutty dan dan sauce usually found on noodle dishes. This pairs well with the Papaya De La Huerta salad ($17), topped with kaffir lime and inoc chan dressing. Its fishy zing of nuoc mam highlights its green mango and candied cashews.
The menu is divided into morning market, seafood, rice/noodles, fried plates and stir fries, and some, like the two-tone tuna-and-salmon Tasca Crispy Roll ($18) or the crab rice roll with chayote and Boston lettuce in a kicky Cambodian black pepper sauce ($15), lean Asian. Others, like the chicken and shrimp rolled into long, flaky Spanish dumplings with saffron aioli ($12), sway more continental. The Paella de Malayo ($34), with lamb, chicken, English peas, yellow curry and coconut milk, straddles the aisle. Hungry for more substantial raciónes? Share the Tasca Baby Beef ($29) doused in an ultra-rich madeira wine sauce.
The innovative cocktail program here features milder drinks like the Matcha Royal ($16), a zingy mojito made with Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka with green tea, mint and cava, and classics like the Fujian Old Fashioned ($16), featuring a spicy ball of Angostura ice. The toothsome Coco Cloud ($15) pairs Caña Añejo rum with coconut cream for a frothy concoction. And desserts like the Yuzu Red Dragon Cake ($11), the slice nestled between lime-green yuzu mousse, are all about the spectacle.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER WINNIE MCCROY