Latin Flair and Drag Divas at La Pulperia

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday March 28, 2018

Things are heating up in Hell's Kitchen, New York City's LGBTQ mecca of culture and cuisine. Just steps away from the Theater District, the neighborhood is packed with gay bars and restaurants, plenty of hotels ranging from budget-friendly to five-star fabulous, and one particular spot where you can have a taste of rustic Latin American fare at La Pulperia.

Restaurateurs Victor Medina and Carlos Barroz opened La Pulperia's Hell's Kitchen location in 2014 on Restaurant Row, one of the most famous dining blocks in the city. Featuring an interior designed Andrew Gomez, the space features turquoise clapboard, exposed brick and weathered red banquettes.

The cozy venue lays the groundwork for Chef Barroz's eclectic menu, which offers various interpretations of Latin cuisine, along with a few oddball favorites for tourists that don't want to eat south of the border.

A native of Argentina, Chef Barroz worked for his family's restaurant before immigrating to the United States, where he refined his craft in Miami before opening The Taco Shop and Quahog's Seafood Shack in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. La Pulperia, whose name is inspired by general stores found throughout South America, draws from his years of international experience by combining classic flavors with modern interpretations.

Mixologist Daniel Villanueva is responsible for a mouth-watering cocktail menu, which honors the classics and also riffs in new and unexpected directions. Consider starting with a mezcal Negroni, featuring Las Hormigas mezcal, Campari, Campano, and vermouth. For a drink with a bit more bite, the Chilango reimagines the classic margarita with Zarco tequila, Cointreau, tamarind, and a housemade chipotle and habanero salt. Beer drinkers will love the international selection, which includes Quilmes (Argentia), Imperial (Costa Rica), Aquila (Colombia), Cusqueña (Peru), and more.

For a sharable first course, the crudo tasting offers three variations from the sea: ceviche mixto, with bay scallops, octopus, and squid; escabeche de pulpo, also featuring octopus with the addition of chorizo and chipotle hummus; and salmon brulee, a tartare topped with caramelized soft cheese and topped with micro bull blood greens.

For main courses, the Moqueca Mixta offers Chef Barroz's interpretation of a Brazilian-style stew, with fresh seafood, bacalao (dried cod) and green coconut rice. Meat eaters will rejoice in the hangar steak, a hefty portion of Black Angus beef, grilled and served with a tasting of "cazuelitas," which include eggplant chambota, Russian potato salad, celery root gratin, grilled broccoli rabe, and a garlicky chimichurri sauce.

If you're looking for a feast for the eyes as well as the belly, La Pulperia hosts a weekly drag brunch with Ritzy Bitz at the helm and a rotating roster of accompanying guest performers every Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

La Pulperia, Hell's Kitchen
371 West 46th Street

If you happen to be wandering about town, be sure to check out La Pulperia's sister locations:
Upper East Side
1626 Second Avenue

Midtown East
151 East 57th Street

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.