Any old celebrity chef can build a restaurant empire. Very few can run one as smoothly as Jose Garces. Wood-filled and burnished by lantern light, his handsome Old City flagship remains the unshakeable foundation on which his fame was founded. No doubt its endurance reflects, first and foremost, the kitchen’s fealty to and mastery of the classics: though the menu takes seasonal twists and creative turns here and there, it’s grounded in the ultra-robust likes of lamb meatballs, crab-stuffed piquillos and roast pork with white beans. Even luxuries like lobster and truffles get the rustic treatment in hearty paellas or on flatbreads. As for booze, far be it from us to suggest you cast aside the gorgeous list of wines by the bottle, but in sangría veritas. And here’s some truth we hope you swine lovers can even handle: twice a year, Amada (which has a New York sibling, by the by) hosts a suckling-pig banquet for the memory books.
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