Andanada presents a Paella Festival, running June 3–9. The restaurant will showcase a special of its authentic paellas—prepared as Spaniards do by executive chef Manuel Berganza .
Thanks to a young entrepreneur from Rioja, Spain and a young chef who won Michelin stars in Madrid, the Lincoln Center neighborhood now has a top-tier tapas and fine dining restaurant, Andanada, featuring modern presentations of traditional Spanish cuisine.
Owner and partner Alvaro Reinoso, the son of the owner of the renowned winery Tobelos in Haro, La Rioja, was born in Logroño, La Rioja in Northern Spain, a place where the culture of food and wine is of prime importance. Reinoso brought his passion for gastronomic culture with him to the U.S. when he came here to study and work as a software engineer, but he couldn’t find true Spanish cuisine in New York. Leveraging his experience in events and promotion with his own company, The Spaniards NYC, with which he organizes the most popular European events in the best venues (Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, and PHD), he decided to seek out a top Spanish chef and open Andanada on the Upper West Side.
His pick to lead the kitchen is Berganza, who was mentored by Michelin-starred Chef Sergi Arola at Restaurant La Broche in Madrid. Berganza came up through the ranks at La Broche and when promoted to executive chef, maintained the restaurant’s two-star Michelin rating. He left La Broche to help Arola open his eponymous Restaurant Sergi Arola Gastro, serving under Arola as executive chef. Gastro won two Michelin stars in its first year, and served guests including the King and Queen of Spain, Pele, Paulina Rubio, and Sharon Stone. Though he spent much of his career in Madrid, Berganza’s influences come from all over Spain: He was born in Asturias, but his family moved frequently. Growing up, cooking with his mother and grandmother, he always knew he wanted to be a chef. He lived in Cataluña and the Basque country—he attended culinary school in Leioa, near Bilbao and in Madrid, and his first experience in the U.S. was a stage at Alinea in Chicago.
Andanada is the expression of the team’s experience and creativity, offering real Spanish ingredients, in innovative, witty presentations that never compromise on authentic Spanish flavors. The name, referring to the highest seating area in the bullfighting arena, where you not only have the best view but also the most energetic and enthusiastic fans, is also reflected in the painted mural of bullfighter Enrique Ponce, that graces the well-designed, comfortable dining room.
No matter where you sit at Andanada, you’ll have a great perspective for experiencing real Spanish cuisine; from the glass roofed garden atrium with painted vines, green-pillowed, picket-fence white benches, to the elegant dining room with sumptuous terracotta chairs and golden-butterscotch cushioned banquets, and ornate mirrors reflecting the murals and the terracotta brick walls, to the bar area with its high tables and slate blue moldings.
The heart of the menu are the tapas, all based on the traditional small plates that capture the true flavors of Spain, but in lighter, healthier versions, in sometimes unrecognizable forms. Take for instance, patatas bravas, a classic tapas bar favorite, most often fried and slathered with garlic mayonnaise and spicy salsa brava. Here, you find small boiled potatoes planted in a soil of dehydrated olives, with the two sauces on the side. Dip a potato in garlic aioli or salsa brava, then in olive powder, and then into your mouth. And while it seems like it would be hard to improve on, or even vary, pan con tomate, toasted bread rubbed with tomato and garlic, in Berganza’s hands, it becomes a special treat (his secret: he purees tomato and garlic together). Albondigas en mojo en cilantro y mojo de picon, meatballs in any language, are a superb blend of 70 percent oxtail and 30 percent pork, adding up to a melt-in-your-mouth savoriness that is offset by sides of cilantro and garlic-picon sauces.
The wine list is 100 percent Spanish and divided by regions, including ones not familiar to most New Yorkers (including wines from Barcelona and Madrid) as well as wines from Alvaro Reinoso’s father’s winery, Tobelos, excellent, smooth Riojas that just might change your perception of Spanish wines. Diners are encouraged to ask for suggestions for pairing with tapas and larger dishes.