Best Thing We Ate
Hot Dish: Spanish Skewers and Sandwiches at Moruno
Some people sit idly by while their restaurants get built, others do something constructive with the time. David Rosoff and chef Chris Feldmeier are in the latter camp. The two debut Moruno at the Original Farmers Market today with a limited menu served from a take-out window. The full-scale Moruno restaurant and vermouth bar, Bar Vermut, will debut in a couple of months in the former Short Order space, with another location, Bar Moruno, opening at the Grand Central Market later this year. But while those are still coming together, the window will be serving pinchitos morunos, or Spanish-style skewers of spiced pork, lamb, chicken or vegetables, and "subMorunos," those meats stuffed into a baguette with various sauces, mint and chilies.
The two Mozza alums — Rosoff was the general manager on the compound for the last eight years and Feldmeier was chef de cuisine at the Osteria — left to pursue their dreams of opening their own restaurant. And after travels through Spain, where morunos are served at tapas bars all over the country, they decided that the simple kebabs are where it's at. The meats and vegetables are heavily spiced with cumin, paprika and turmeric, showcasing the North African influence on southern Spanish cuisine. While the morunos themselves are a great, simple meal — you get two skewers to an order plus a few slices of bread — the sandwiches are the thing to get. The vegetable has big pieces of grilled and spiced sweet potato, chunks of halloumi cheese, mushrooms and lots of herbs and garlic; the chicken is laced with aioli and chilies that create some definite heat. But the lamb with its horseradish baba ganoush is the winner. It's a heavenly combination of tender meat, garlic and spice on soft bread, which is imported from a bakery in Spain and soaks up every last bit of flavor. There are some sides, like lentils with basmati rice and yogurt, and gunpowder fries are also available.
The window, which is located near Gate 7 at the market, opens on Friday, July 31, 11:30 AM-2 PM, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 2. After that, you have to watch the Twitter page for regular updates.