After a long two years of preparation and anticipation, Nuela, a giant new South American restaurant and ceviche bar, has finally opened on West 24th Street. And now we know why it took so long; all that red doesn't just fall from the sky. As you can see, the former Sapa space has been transformed into a cushy, 200-seat eatery by world-renowned designer Angel Sanchez. The centerpiece is the 50-seat cevicheria, which, according to the press release, "showcases the beating heart of Chef Adam Schop's menu."
The menu's broken up into empanadas, composed entrées [platos] and large plates to share [para la mesa], and the cuisine culls from the culinary traditions of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. (Schop comes to Manhattan by way of Chicago, where he earned three stars from The Chicago Tribune for his work at De La Costa.) The menu also features smoked brisket arepas with plantains and black beans and pork; rock shrimp empanadas, and more than fifteen types of ceviche.
After a visit during Nuela's soft opening, William Haseltine, writing for the Atlantic, declared the menu nothing less than "a statement of South American unity and fashion." Of course, he's a biotech entrepreneur, not a dining critic, so do with that what you will. Nuela's open for dinner now, with brunch on the near horizon. And in the future, Schop plans to throw whole-animal feasts, starring such lucky beasts as a guava-covered suckling pig.
43 West 24th Street; (212) 929-1200