Chef Alex Ureña has proven himself to be one of the most innovative and well respected chefs to tackle modern Spanish and Latino cuisine. His first restaurant, Ureña, showcased his passion and skill for innovative gastronomy, earning several outstanding reviews and industry accolades. After that, Ureña expanded his scope of Spanish cuisine to include simpler, bistro-type fare at the critically hailed Pamplona. After several years outside of the NYC dining scene, Ureña has planted a comeback as the executive chef at Lower East Side's reigning Latino cuisine destination, Rayuela.
Ureña's earliest beginnings were centered on the basics — food farmed by his grandfather, cooked at the hands of his mother while his father harbored an innate skill of butchering. His professional training alongside David Bouley taught Ureña the intricacies of French techniques, and years spent with Ferran Adria imparted a great sense of innovation. With encouragement from his family he spent time at highly regarded New York restaurants, including Jo Jo, La Cote Basque, and La Caravelle which led to a lead position at Blue Hill and Marseille where he earned two-star reviews from The New York Times. Before opening Ureña in January 2006, he developed a stylish Spanish-inspired menu at Suba on Manhattan's Lower East Side. At Pamplona, Ureña returned to a simplistic approach, all the while exploring the Spanish flavors he is celebrated for. After the restaurant shuttered in 2009, Ureña spent the next few years down in the Bahamas as the executive chef of Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill at the Atlantis Resort. And now at Rayuela, Ureña is exploring the regional cuisine of the greater Latin America, drawing inspiration from his native Dominican Republic as well as influences from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Chile, etc.
Each restaurant in New York City and abroad has left an indelible mark upon Ureña's culinary style, forging a unique roster of signature dishes. His food is no longer ultra-modern, yet it retains an undeniable Latin American tone. As a relentless perfectionist, Ureña never stops cooking or refining family recipes and experimenting with new ones. His passion for Latin American and Spanish gastronomy no doubt places Alex at the helm of uniting American diners with the essence and gusto of northern Spanish cuisine.