TIO PEPE in NYC
168 West 4th Street (just west of 6th Avenue)
This Thursday Annie and I found Tio Pepe while wondering east on West 4th Street. As we were looking at the menu posted at the entrance, we were warmly greeted and invited in. We couldn't resist the charm of both the host and the atmosphere.
We sat at a tiled top table near the front of the restaurant. The storefront windows were completely opened adding to the cafe charm. But this is not a small place. They also have a garden greenhouse in the back. The decor is Castilian Spanish by way of Mexico. And to some degree so is the menu.
Annie started with a straight up Mojito. I opted for the Tequila version with sprit and orange juice added to the Mojitos sugar, lime and mint. Chips and a nicely spicy salsa came also. Both were yummy.
We shared nachos for an appetizer.
You never know what you're gonna get when you order nachos. Everyone uses the same ingredients - its the architecture that varies.
These were the kind that are individually made, each with its own healthy piling of creamy black bean, melted cheese and topped with a ring of jalapeño. In the center of the plate was some shredded lettuce and sour cream. Good for this type nacho. Just the right amount of each ingredient on a just the right amount of crisp chip. I wondered why there was no guacamole on the plate and then saw the mobile table side guacamole station roll by. Guacamole is made fresh to order at ones table. (Next time!)
Annie ordered the Mariscada en Salsa Verde but asked for the Ajillo sauce instead - no problem. The dish was lobster, gulf shrimp, clams and mussels in garlic and olive oil. Annie loves shell fish and lobster.
It must have been good cause she picked that crustacean clean, not an occupied shell left on the plate.
I ordered Lubina a la Vasca - sea bass, clams, mussels and gulf shrimp in parsley, garlic and white wine. As usual I talked to the waiter about my gluten intolerance and was told that there was no flour or various other gluten products in our selections. And if I wanted my dish prepared another way that would be no problem. The sea bass was perfectly cooked as were the shell fish. The sauce was light and not distracting and the fresh peas added just the right amount of fun and color. I enjoyed it very much.
Both entrees came with yellow rice - which was soft and creamy in texture yet not at all mushy.
Very good food along with very nice customer service. Water glasses were filled promptly when they got low, plates were cleared as they were emptied and the staff were very attentive even though they were 2/3 full.
Dinner with 2 drinks, 1 appetizer and 2 entrees including tax and tip $100.00
Would I eat there again - Yes
Special feature - Atmosphere - people watching if you opt for the front dining room, romantic if you opt for the garden.