We had a shockingly delicious dinner last week at, of all places, a New York sports bar! Latitude on Eighth Avenue is not only a happening bar with lots of big screen TVs playing every game, (we were lucky enough to sit opposite screens showing a Yankees-Red Sox contest and a Brooklyn Nets one!,) they also played great club music which some fun groups sang along to! It was just a happy experience all the way around, (made more so for me by cute bartenders Roberto and Alex.)

The back bar.  Photo by Karen Salkin.

The back bar. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The front part opens onto the street, which is perfect for this time of year. You get to see the whole human parade pass by while enjoying your choice of so many kinds of interesting beers and cocktails. And delicious fare, too, of course!

I was joined for dinner by two of my main East Coast associates, Sheila, (who always reviews here with me,) and new assistant/photog, Eamonn. He’s a hip young musician, photographer, and world traveler; I’m so glad that his first reviewing experience with us was at the perfect place for him.

Peruvian steak. Photo by Eamonn Tracy.

Peruvian steak. Photo by Eamonn Tracy.

Once we got settled, busy waitress Jacqueline, (who ably worked the entire full dining section by herself all night!,) started the other two off with some of the bar’s very many beers. They enjoyed them all, with the Leinenkugels vanilla porter being voted the most interesting. Eamonn said he did taste the hints of coffee in it, which is something I always wonder about. (I know alcoholic beverages state that they have “hints” or “accents” of flavors, but I never believed it until Eamonn confirmed it for me that night.) And it was on draft!

Just about every item on the surprisingly full menu appealed to us, which I found entertaining because we have such diverse tastes. And since the kitchen sent the dishes out in the correct order and at the perfect pace, we actually took the time to savor and enjoy.

The fabulous Barcelona Plate! Photo by Eamonn Tracy.

The fabulous Barcelona Plate! Photo by Eamonn Tracy.

We started off with the Barcelona Plate, which is Latitude’s version of a cheese and charcuterie platter. It was excellent because it wasn’t overwhelming, like so many similar ones are. It consists of one meat, (this time it was prosciutto,which I was happy about,) one cheese, fig jam, marcona almonds, glazed walnuts, roasted pepppers & tomatoes, and grilled rustic bread. I can’t tell you how much we loved it! It was Eamonn’s fave, and is definitely the perfect combo for any occasion, especially as a great snack with cocktails. Sheila loved all the “different textures,” and was most impressed that the nuts were served warm. We all thought it was such a fun thing; we loved the combination of ingredients, and deemed the plate to be just the right snack for a Spring or Summer day.

Here are the rest of the menu highlights for us:

Sweet potato fries. Photo by Eamonn Tracy.

Sweet potato fries. Photo by Eamonn Tracy.

We all loved the Hand Cut Sweet Potato Fries, but we varied on the accompanying sauces, although all in complimentary ways. While Eamonn thought the fries “didn’t need sauces” because they were “fine enough by themselves,” and Sheila added “they were gilding the lily,” I was in love with them, especially the maple one! So creative and oh so delicious!

I would have been happy to eat only the Steakhouse Spring Rolls. They’re steak, spinach, and mashed potatoes in a crispy spring roll wrap, and are served with three sauces, each of which is more delicious than the one before. This dish is really OMG!

The Port Wine Onion Jam on the Mesclun Salad was loved by all, but ask for it on the side so you can apply the right amount for yourself to not overpower the greens.

Latin sliders. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Latin sliders. Photo by Karen Salkin.

We were all interested in the fact that Latitude serves four different varieties of sliders! None of us had ever seen that on a menu before! We went with the Latin ones, which were “a different take on a tried and true classic,” according to Eamonn. He said that these crispy corncakes stuffed with warm grilled chicken avocado salad were “sweet, but not overkill,” while Sheila thought that the choice of corn cake for the outside was definitely “interesting.” And the flavorful Grilled Peruvian Style skirt Steak was a meal unto itself, even though it’s listed as a Starter.

Shrimp and avocado quesadilla. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Shrimp and avocado quesadilla. Photo by Karen Salkin.

By the time we got to the main dishes, we were totally full, but we plugged on to be able to share the discoveries with you. Sheila appreciated the “great flavor” of the Gruyere Caramelized Onion Burger, while Eamonn and I were really into the perfectly crispy fries that came on the side. Eamonn (my best eater, obviously,) enjoyed the “richness” of the Shrimp & Avocado Quesadillas, and said the Lasagna Noodles with Sauteed Chicken was an “unusual and appealing” dish. I was fascinated by that latter one because it was so different. And, since it was chock full of garlic, it would be a great choice to order on a date where you have no interest in making-out later!

The cheesecake in the foreground and the chocolate cake in the back.  Notice the adorable strawberry swans on top! Photo by Karen Salkin.

The cheesecake in the foreground and the chocolate cake in the back. Notice the adorable strawberry swans on top! Photo by Karen Salkin.

As full as we were, you know me–there’s always room for dessert! Latitude had only two, but luckily for us, they were both yummy! And the perfect size, too. We all noted the attractive presentation of them. The Vanilla Bean Cheesecake was light and excellent, but the Chocolate Lava Cake was the pièce de résistance. It was worthy of a top restaurant! (But alas, they have no milk on hand to go with; I just want those of you who are like me with your chocolate accompaniment needs to be prepared for that eventuality.)

We left Latitude stuffed and content. And with a bunch of doggie bags, the contents of which were equally delish the next day. (And the Nets and Yanks won that night, too!!! What could have been better?!)

783 8th Ave.  New York, NY  212-245-3034  www.latitudebarnyc.com


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