Wednesday, 24 October 2012

In The Midnight Hour: Pata Negra

Posted by Zachary Feldman, August 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

As restaurant neighborhoods go, the East Village is the equivalent of a Honduran tilapia farm: packed to the gills and in danger of polluting the ecosystem (in this case, with middling restaurants). But Pata Negra, sandwiched into a narrow space on 12th Street between the takeout and proper restaurant locations of mac-and-cheese stalwart S’MAC, has proven itself as a sleeper in the tradition of Spain’s best tapas bars, and the area is better for it. Wallets and waistlines, not so much.

The World’s Most Expensive Ham at Pata Negra
August 2, 2011

Tiny Pata Negra sits on an E. 12th Street block in the East Village packed with quality international eateries. (…) The famed ‘black hoofed’ ham is produced by a special breed of Iberian hogs native only to Spain and fed a steady diet of acorns. The real deal has only been approved for US import for three years. Pata Negra is one of the few places in NYC that you can order it. (…) As a chorizo fanatic, my eye is drawn instantly to this smokey tapa. The plump, juicy sausage comes from Despana, which means it is fantastic. It’s accompanied by a delicious selection of seasonal veggies.

CBS: NYC’s 5 Best Wine and Cheese Bars

Pata Negra from Jonathan Cristaldi on Vimeo.

Pink Pig NYC

“In this currently meat-obsessed city, you’d think fine Spanish hams would get at least as much worship as the average ‘smashed burger,’ but I just don’t hear enough praise of this place.”

“It does, of course, offer the fabled jamón Ibérico de bellota, the cured ham of acorn-fed Black Iberian porker – long unavailable in this country. But it’s a damn good tapas bar too.”

Decanter Magazine – June, 2009

Click here for the PDF

Decanter Magazine looks at a few gems among the 150+ wine bars in Manhattan; noteworthy is Pata Negra among a short list of Wine Bar destinations.

NY Times Dining & Wine - April 9, 2008
Dining & WineWine Bars Grow Up and Squeeze In
Published: April 9, 2008

(…) No question about it, wine bars are no longer what they used to be. Throughout the restaurant-saturated precincts of New York, wine bars have been proliferating like latter-day Starbucks, purveying their wines by the glass and simple bites with typically homespun charms.At last count,, a Web site devoted to tracking the city.s wine bars, had found 131 in the city, although Ray Kasbarian, its chief executive, conceded that the number was out of date.

Most of them seem stamped out of the now ubiquitous Italian mold, offering platters of salumi and cheese, panini and a dozen glasses of red and white.

But many (…) have stepped it up, forging identities that distinguish them from the more mundane masses.

(…) Pata Negra in the East Village serves Spanish hams. Glistening jamón ibérico is among the world’s great delicacies. Cheeses and tidbits, with Spanish wines, of course.(…)

Dining & WineEmerging, in Spain, to Warm Applause
Published: March 5, 2008

(…)In a recent tasting of 25 bottles of Rueda, the wine panel found a multitude of mouth-watering wines filled with juicy citrus, floral and mineral flavors, just the sorts of bottles to have on hand in the refrigerator, ready to open at a moment.s notice. Best of all, they are downright cheap. Our Top 10 included nine bottles at $9 to $15.(…)For the tasting Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Mani Dawes, an owner and the wine director at TíPol, a tapas bar in Chelsea, and my friend Rafael Mateo, proprietor of Pata Negra, a Spanish wine bar in the East Village.(…)

Dining & WineLiving and Drinking in the Moment
Published: August 13, 2008

(…) The consistent popularity of albariñs a tribute both to the fundamental appeal of these bright, thirst-quenching wines and to the canny marketing efforts of Spanish winemakers, who made it the signature white wine of the Rí Baixas region of Galicia, in northwestern Spain.
To take the temperature of the current crop of albariñin the marketplace, the wine panel recently sampled 25 bottles, 17 from the 2006 vintage and 8 from the 2007.For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Stephen Paul Mancini, the wine and spirits director at Union Square Cafe, and my friend Rafael Mateo, the proprietor of Pata Negra, a ham and tapas bar in the East Village.(…)

Dining & Wine

From Catalonia, Tastes Both Old and New

Published: July 11, 2007

(…)The wine panel recently had the pleasure of tasting 23 bottles of red wine from Montsant in northeastern Spain. This largely anonymous region, which was recognized as a separate wine zone in 2001, seems poised to make a name for itself.

The wines varied widely in style. Some were juicy, instantly pleasurable and exceptional values. Others were clearly more ambitious and expensive . bigger, richer and meant for longer-term enjoyment. All were linked by a distinctive mineral component that gave them depth and identity.

For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Ron Miller, the general manager of Solera, a Spanish restaurant on the East Side of Manhattan, and Rafael Mateo, the former managing partner at Ostia in Greenwich Village, who is planning to open Pata Negra, a ham, cheese and wine bar, in the fall. We all were impressed and surprised by the wines.(…)

Dining & WineNavarre Toasts a Wider World
Published: March 21, 2007

Rioja has long overshadowed its neighbor. For years Navarre was known mostly for its rosados, or rosé and after the French phylloxera crisis of the 19th century a fair amount of Navarre wine was sold in France until its vineyards had been replanted. By then, phylloxera had struck Navarre, too.

In the last 20 years, growth in Navarre has been swift, propelled by improved research and technology. Its wines, now primarily red, have been gaining a reputation for quality.

The panel tasted 25 Navarre reds from vintages ranging from 1999 to 2005 and priced from $6 to $45. For the tasting Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Roger Kugler, general manager of Suba, a Spanish restaurant on the Lower East Side, and Rafael Mateo, managing partner of Ostia, a new tapas lounge in Greenwich Village.


The pitter-patter of poquito pata …

Pata Negra:
Intimate, quiet, and about the size of your studio-apartment living room, this East Village hideaway is definitely not a place to shake off the work-week woes by getting rowdy. Instead, chill out Spanish style with wine and tapas. Named after the black-hoofed pig, Pata Negra offers up cured jamon iberico (a delicacy recently approved for import) on the simple ham and cheese menu, but the focus is on dozens of Spanish wines. Make sure to go during the daily “siesta” from 5 to 7:30 p.m., featuring $5 glasses of wine or sangria and free tapas, and leave the work talk at the office for once. Stay long enough and friendly owner Chef Rafael Mateo just may offer you a shot from his secret stash of mescal.

a really terrific crew running this place only serve to compliment small but tasty patitas y queso. Great place to have a nice – no good glass of wine and snack.
Food Rating star star star star
Service Rating star star star star
Posted on 04/28/08quality ingredients, excellent service, cozy space. small and very approachable wine list. try the jamon iberico, lomo and desgustacion. will return to try the jamon iberico de bellota.

Spanish wine and small plates at this new bar from Rafael Mateo, the former manager of Ostia. Closed Mondays.
Outside Reviews
Chef Mateo’s Bog
{Full review}It has been a long arduous process with many a story to tell…
{Full review}

Editorial Review for Pata Negra – by Laura Norkin In ShortFlickering candles and flamenco music make Ostia owner Rafael Mateo’s latest wine bar feel more like Southern Spain than the East Village, even before the ex-pat, accented waitress appears at your table. Space is maximized with individual barstool-level tables, which allow for easy conversation among the after-work set and the casual more-wine-less-dine crowd. Each of the more than 30 wines on the list are from Spain, as is the tapas-style small plate menu, which features delicacies like Lomo (cured pork loin) and La Mancha (Butifarra sausage, Mahon cheese and red bell pepper spread).Hits:A bonus list of an additional 30-odd monthly reserve wines ($50 – $145) enhances the already well-rounded menu, and the owner manages to please particular palates by recommending glasses from the full-bodied Almansa to a triple-grape Oda.




The pork-centric menu leaves vegetarians with nothing but cheese plates, while vegans are stuck drinking their dinner–at least there’s fruit in Sangria.





ProfileThis slender, dimly lit space is owner Rafael Mateo’s shrine to Spanish swine. The menu showcases jamón, from salty, deep-red Serrano—Spain’s house ham—to one of the world’s priciest cured meat, jamón ibérico, which comes from the black-hooved (pata negra) pigs who forage for acorns across the country’s oak-cloaked southwest. Mateo timed the opening of his restaurant with the 2008 lifting of U.S. restrictions on this Iberian delicacy, which he orders from the first Spanish slaughterhouse certified to export here. The dark-purple ham, streaked with yellowish fat, is nutty and creamy, melting on the tongue like earthy, pork-scented butter. “It’s ham candy,” says Mateo. Also on offer are simple sandwiches and imported cheeses from Murray’s; manchego and la serena make sharp, tangy contrasts to the rich cured meats. The cocoonlike interior has only a handful of high tables topped with flickering candles, a frosted-glass front window, and billowing burgundy curtains around the door. Mateo’s wine list is small but well curated with a focus on the herbaceous, leathery reds of Rioja, which make for perfect sipping while Spanish tunes from Manu Chao to wistful bolero love songs purr over the speakers. — AnneLise SorensenRecommended Dishes
Jamón serrano, $12; Jamón ibérico de bellota, $35; Manchego cheese, $5.

Dining & Wine
April 9, 2008″Pata Negra in the East Village serves Spanish hams — glistening jamón Ibérico is among the world’s great delicacies — cheeses and tidbits, with Spanish wines, of course.”