Last night I was invited by a gal friend to have birthday cocktails with her and 7 of her girlfriends at Yerba Buena (Perry St.), the second outpost of Chef Julian Medina's (Toloache) Latin restaurant. I was very excited to say the least for 2 reasons: 1. I have not been to the first Yerba Buena in the East Village, and have been wanting to go for a while, and 2. I would be having cocktails with 7 girls.
I got to the restaurant and the place was packed! There really was not much decor to the place, a few cool looking edison light bulbs was the extent of it. But, you don't come to Yerba Buena for the decor, you come for the food and drink! I took a seat at the bar and was taken care of by Alex, a gracious bartender who would concoct different and unusual off-menu cocktails for me throughout the night. (I would be meeting the girls at their table for dessert.) I started with the Chupa Cabra; Herradura Blanco, cucumber, lime, mint, and Cholula (hot sauce). The drink was refreshing and great, and the addition of Cholula gave it the perfect kick to start off my meal.
I ordered the arepas ($13), fish tacos ($13), and red jalapeno fries ($6).
The arepas came with coffee glazed pork belly and cabbage slaw. I must tell you that they were amazing! The sweetness of the pork belly balanced perfectly with the tartness of the slaw. The slaw gave a great crunch to the dish as well. These arepas were some of the best bites I have put in my mouth all year!
The fish tacos came with tilapia Baja style and chipotle-mango slaw. They too, were quite excellent, delicious, and amazing!
The fries were fine, but really nothing special, so I sent them back and ordered the manchego cheese croquettes with pickled jalapeño, and salsa verde ($8). This was a smart move because these little croquettes were small bites of deliciousness! They were extremely addictive and the perfect snack to go with one of Yerba Buena's great cocktails.
After this great meal and a few drinks I stopped by my friend's bday table filled with ladies and desserts. It was pretty much heaven- especially when I dipped my spoon into the Yerba Buena Dulce De Leche Sundae ($9) with bananas, candied pecans, and dulce de leche. I only had one spoonful, but that was all I needed to give me a culinary orgasm. I couldn't tell which I enjoyed more- that sundae or all the women.
Yerba Buena is an amazing place for great cocktails and great Latin cuisine. I will tell you that it is extremely loud inside, the acoustics are awful, and I had to scream throughout the night. So, I recommend not talking, just drinking and eating, and you will be one satisfied customer. I know I was.
Yerba Buena (Perry St.)
One Perry St. (at Greenwich Ave)
New York, NY 10014