It was truly devastating when Chef Sue Torres was forced to close her outstanding subterranean Mexican eatery Suenos earlier this year, but now she's back at newly opened Espoleta, a tapas and wine restaurant on the Bowery. Pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani shuttered his Forcella outpost to open the new restaurant, which debuted at the beginning of the month. Instead of slices, Torres and Adriani are doing bites, small plates and a strong cheese menu of Spanish origin.
They're offering a weather-appropriate Artichoke Fondue ($15), made with cow's milk Mahon and cow-sheep combo Ahumade de Pria cheese alongside expected tapas dishes like Patatas Bravas ($9) with red pepper aioli and Tortilla Espanola ($6) made with local eggs, potatoes, sea salt and aioli. Finally, larger dishes like Hanger Steak with celery root gratin ($25) and Langoustines Veracruzano in a green olive, caper and citrus butter ($24).
The menu may have done an about face but the dining room hasn't changed all that much. A large communal table anchors the main seating area, which gets illuminated by ornate chandeliers. There's also an up-front bar area well-suited to a glass or two of red wine and the small pintxos snacks, including a Pan con Tomate ($7) with Serrano ham and a Kabocha Squash ($8) with leek confit, mascarpone cheese and hazelnut.
334 Bowery, 212-466-3300; website