With his wife Martine running the front of the house, chef Alex Ureña has made a few more adjustments to Pamplona, their small East 28th Street restaurant known as erstwhile hell for sconce connoisseurs, but consistently a solid bet for modern Spanish food at a good price point. Following Frank Bruni’s 2 star Times review in November, Pamplona introduced a weekday lunch, soon following that up with a brunch menu. Coddled eggs, meet Spanish cured tuna. Cured tuna, meet coddled eggs.
Pamplona also has a “secret” menu, offered from 12-3 on weekdays. It’s a take-out, brown bag lunch, and nothing costs more than $5.95. What at first seems like a no-frills roster- a “make your own” salad, some sandwiches and a couple of soups- becomes something borderline incredible in the hands of the chef. First, you get the option of putting Manchego or piquillo peppers in that salad. House made focaccia stands in for hero bread; tomatoes on the grilled chicken sandwich (pictured here; $5.95) were peeled and the chicken was sliced thin, not tasting like yesterday’s grill marks.
Roasted vegetable sandwiches come with guindilla pepper aioli, and cups of chestnut (or house chorizo y pollo) soup go for $3.95. A half sandwich and small soup combo is $5. Martine says the menu started as a courtesy to the neighborhood; considering ingredient quality, technique, and attention to detail, it’s one of the best lunch deals in the whole city. When there’s an extra pair of legs on the dining room floor, Pamplona offers limited delivery. Call ahead.
Pamplona: 37 E. 28th Street / (212) 213-2328