Restaurant Review: La Pulperia, Rustic Latin Cuisine in Hell’s Kitchen!

la pulperia restaurant exterior photo by gail worley
All Photos by Gail Except Where Noted

If you agree that the mood and comfort-level set by a restaurant’s decor is equally important as the food they serve, then you have to check out  La Pulperia, a welcome addition to the many excellent dining options in Hell’s Kitchen.  Opened in March of 2021, La Pulperia provides diners with fun, innovative Latin American cuisine and cocktails, showcasing renditions of familiar dishes infused with cross-cultural flair. Not only is the food delicious, but the interior design of the space will charm you and enhance your dining experience tremendously.

la pulperia interior from entrance photo by gail worley

With interiors designed by Andres Gomez, the main room features exposed brick walls adorned with curated arrangements  of antique mirrors that add a touch of vintage glamour to the space. The mirrors are placed strategically to reflect the natural light and create a sense of depth and openness in the restaurant.

wall of mirrors photo by gail worley

La Pulperia’s ceiling is fitted out with nautical ropes and hooks, with filament bulbs suspended in a criss-cross pattern, adding an industrial feel to the space. The ropes and bulbs create an inviting and somewhat festive atmosphere, perfect for a cozy dinner with friends or a romantic date night.

interior seating photo by gail worley

The furniture in La Pulperia is a mix of rustic and modern pieces, with wooden tables and chairs with padded leather seats adding a touch of warmth to the space. The use of natural materials such as wood and brick, combined with vintage accents creates a unique and eclectic atmosphere that feels both familiar and new.

la pulperia bar shot with groceries shelf
This Photo Courtesy of Benvenuti PR

Our waiter explained to us that the name La Pulperia, has dual meanings in Latin America: a Pulperia is a seafood shop (which ties in with the  seafood-leaning menu), but it’s also a name for a small grocery store that sells necessities. If you look at the very top shelf above the bar, you’ll see an homage to its bodega namesake. Fun!

cocktail menu photo by gail worley

We always start dinner with cocktails and we couldn’t wait to peruse the vast selection of potent potables. The beverage program was created by Daniel Villanueva, who began his career at Cuba in the West Village. The cocktail menu is composed of classic cocktails redesigned with South American spirits. There is something for every taste (and they make a mean mocktail as well)!

red sangria and mojito cocktails photo by gail worley

I enjoyed a refreshing glass of Red Sangria (they also have White Sangria) while my dining companion Anne flipped over her Mojito. We got little buzz on while we looked over the extensive menu.

The kitchen is led by Executive Chef Miguel Molina, who prides himself on his creativity reimagining dishes from Latin and South American countries like Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, to create and plate dishes that are totally unique. Chef Miguel hails from Guerrero, Mexico, where he worked at his parents’ small family-run restaurant, helping his mother and father in front and back of the house, learning every facet of the industry. He arrived in New York in 1996 and worked in French and Italian restaurants throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, finding a knack for composing seafood dishes and mixing ingredients. The menu features classic Latin dishes reimagined and intricately plated.

cheese and corn empanada duo photo by gail worley

We were craving something fried and a bit decadent, so we started our culinary adventure with two empanada duos. Corn & Cheese Empanadas ($11)  seen above, are stuffed with Manchego Cheese and Yellow Corn, scallions and cilantro, inside a crispy, golden pastry.

cheese and corn empanada interior photo by gail worley

This is what they look like on the inside, with a little freshly-made Chimichurri sauce on top.

beef empanada duo photo by gail worley

The hearty Beef Empanadas ($11) feature a traditional filling of minced lean beef, Spanish onion, hardboiled eggs and olives.

interior beef empanada photo by gail worley

The restaurant won’t allow you to mix two empanada varieties in one order, but we shared the two orders between us so we could each enjoy the different fillings. If you are an empanada fan, these are among he best I’ve had, so I enthusiastically recommend them.

skirt steak with salad and chimichurri photo by gail worley

For her entree, Anne selected the generously portioned 10 oz Skirt Steak ($36), served on a plank, topped with marinated red peppers and blistered shishito peppers, with chimchurri and salsa criola on the side. This meal includes a fresh green salad and thick-cut roasted potatoes that were out of this world.

roasted potato wedges photo by gail worley

If you’re craving a meat-and-potatoes meal prepared with a latin flair, this is the way to go.

short ribs pappardelle photo by gail worley

I chose a house specialty, the Short Ribs Pappardelle ($29), served in a mildly-fiery Puttanesca sauce, topped with Granna Padano (similar to Parmigiano Reggiano) cheese and a sprinkling of fresh diced scallions.

short ribs pappardelle 2 photo by gail worley

I wanted to include a close-up of this dish so you see can the layers of luscious homemade pasta tossed with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth tender short rib. If you’ve never had pasta infused with latin flavors, you are in for a treat if you order this satisfying and unbelievably delicious specialty. The portion is also quite generous, so you if you opted to split a couple of entrees with your dining partner, you would not feel cheated — despite wanting it all to yourself.

roasted shishito peppers photo by gail worley

It’s always fun to round out the meal with a couple of sides, and we chose the blistered Shishito Peppers ($10) and the perfectly prepared Fried Plantains ($10) which arrived to the table golden brown and crispy the outside but moist and tender on the inside — outstanding!

fried plantains photo by gail worley
la pulperia interior from rear photo by gail worley

Did someday say dessert? We saved just enough room.

volcano chocolate cake in dulce de leche sauce photo by gail worley

Desserts include Volcano Chocolate, a chocolate lava cake in a pool of dulce de leche, topped with orange mascarpone cream (really special), and Churros served warm with dulce de leche for dipping. We split both, because of course we did!

churros photo by gail worley

If you feel like you can only manage one dessert, opt for the Churros, because they are easy to share and an excellent south American treat that is done right at La Pulperia.

nxt room at la pulperia photo by gail worley

After dinner, our waiter, Daniel ( who was excellent) showed us this fun hidden room at the back or the restaurant that used to be part of a pizzeria. The space will soon open as the NXT Room, an additional cocktail lounge at La Pulperia. Super Cool!

La Pulperia is located at 623 Ninth Ave (Corner of 44th Street) in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood. Make Your Reservation Here.

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