Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

AMADA, 250 Vesey Street (between North End Avenue and West Street), Inside Brookfield Place, Battery Park City

There is one dish on the menu at the brand-spanking new Amada that is super super exciting. In fairness, many of the dishes are super exciting. There is an arugula salad wrapped in serrano ham, a gourmet artichoke empanada, and all sorts of grilled chorizo and sausages. But we have those dishes in one form or another at other Spanish tapas bars around the city. I’ve yet to encounter anything quite like the Ibérico Presa.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist somewhere in New York. But I was introduced to this spectacular piece of meat for the first time at Amada, the eagerly-anticipated tapas palace from chef Jose Garces. This is the second location of his popular restaurant in Philadelphia. And if the original is as good as the NYC one, I need to book a day trip to Philly – and fast!

So back to the meat. Ibérico Presa comes from the same acorn-fed pig that is called Pata Negra. I often see this cured and sliced thinly into a rich and nutty ham. I’ve had it all over Spain  and Portugal when I visited last year. But I never found any place that was using a thick shoulder cut of these pigs and grilling them to perfection.

IBÉRICO PRESA at AMADA

That’s Ibérico Presa. And while it looks red and charred like a piece of perfectly seared beef, it’s all pork. Yet these slices are buttery and sweet with a nutty pork flavor and the juicy richness of steak. It’s a magical place where beef and pork meet. Imagine that.

It was part of a blow-out meat heavy meal at Amada that also included a perfect bowl of albóndigas (lamb meatballs) with shaved manchego, an interesting play on patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), and spiced pernil asado (roasted pork) with hearty white beans and bright orange segments.

This place is a game-changer in the New York food scene. The tapas and large plates are transportive (you’ll really feel like you’re eating on the Iberian peninsula) and they are introducing many New Yorkers to the pork/steak hybrid they never realized they were missing.  Price: $55

AMADA
250 Vesey Street (between North End Avenue and West Street),
Inside Brookfield Place
Battery Park City
(212) 542-8947
newyork.amadarestaurant.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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