Melibea, a New Contemporary Mediterranean Restaurant, Opens in Manhattan

Staff Writer
Chef Jesús Núñez and restaurateur Hector Sanz opened their newest restaurant this week

Melibea

Hake with fisherman sauce, oysters, farro, and cauliflower,

After opening Barraca, a popular Spanish tapas restaurant in New York’s West Village, Chef Jesús Núñez and restaurateur Hector Sanz have teamed up to open a new restaurant not even a block away. This time their collaboration has led them to Melibea, a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant inspired by menus from Spain, Italy, Greece, Israel, and North Africa. The new restaurant opened Monday night.

Like Barraca, Melibea’s name pays tribute to Spanish theatre and tells a story through its design. The interior, designed by Jack Dakin and Silvia Sofo of SZProjects, is soft, classic, and antique with a theatrical influence. The bar mimics a stage with a curtain, granite counter top, and Napoleon-style bar stools and the mezzanine is surrounded by wall sconces imported from Barcelona, earthy toned mosaic tiles, and a lavish chandelier. To really set the scene, each table setting is ornamented with a brass seat number and seats are directed to the stage-like bar.

When it comes to dining, Núñez decided to separate the eccentric menu into six different sections starting with shareable small plates such as foie terrine with roasted apples, pistachios, and brioche; hummus with beets, boiled egg, and herbs; and matbucha, a Moroccan-inspired cold tomato salad with roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil, and challah bread. Next is a “from the garden” section with vegetable dishes such as fried cauliflower with raisins and spicy mayo and slow cooked eggplant in a vegetable-based sauce with crunchy almonds. Separate from the garden selection is a salad sector with four different salads including Núñez’s signature “the Study of the Tomato.” And lastly, diners can choose from an appetizer section with dishes such as sunchoke cream topped with a “five-minute egg,” onion marmalade, and seared foie gras; squid and salmon carpaccio with roasted red peppers, romesco, crispy ham, and pork belly; and a traditional Boullabaisse de Marseille.

For the main course, guests can choose from a selection of authentic Mediterranean dishes such as wild boar goulash accompanied by stew and spinach gnocchi; slow-cooked codfish with pumpkin, zucchini, squash, bulgur, and chives; and lamb tajine with couscous, garbanzo beans, dried plums, yogurt and mint. Finally, the desserts range from untraditional to customary with lavender cream brulée with gold caramel, raspberries, and rhubarb; roasted fennel with Mediterranean citrus and white chocolate; and a classic tiramisu.

Now that it’s open, Melibea will be serving dinner seven days a week from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. It is located at 2 Bank Street on the corner of Greenwich Avenue.

Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer for the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.

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