LaSallete Restaurant – A Taste of Portugal in Sonoma, California


LaSalette Restaurant/By Guest Editor, Dan Dias

I had always heard that California’s climate, the rich abundance of fresh seafood and locally grown produce made it similar to Portugal.

Perhaps that’s why the wave of Portuguese immigrant fisherman, whalers, and farmers who arrived there, soon made it their home for many generations to come.

Today, California has a large and thriving Portuguese community that embraces their culture and heritage.

On our second trip to California, my wife and I visited Napa Valley, toured the vineyards that truly reminded us Portugal and visited many other sights.

We ended our last night in Sonoma, California, with a wonderful cultural dinning experience at LaSalette Restaurant.

Owner/Chef Manuel Azevedo offers his own interpretation of modern Portuguese cuisine, which celebrates the immense flavors and dishes of Portugal while encouraging the use of fresh local, seasonal ingredients.

LasSalette’s old world ambiance, with it’s open hearth kitchen, generates home style comfort and appeal.The gracious Portuguese hospitality provided by the attentive staff as well as the familiar “Gallo de Borcellos” the LaSalette mascot, a national symbol of Portugal adorning the staff uniforms said to us; “Welcome to Portugal” as soon as we walked in the door!

The taste tempting menu with it’s quintessential Portuguese flavors, the home made breads, and tempting aromas in the air, left our pallets craving and anticipating our planned Summer trip to Portugal in August!

Our first bite of the amuse bouche (first bite) of Chourica with melted Sao Jorge Cheese with olives temped us with it’s spicy yet creamy taste. The appetizer of Scallops, chourico crusted Japanese sweet potato puree, with leek confit and Portuguese molho was superb.

We dived into the appetizer combination platter of succulent baby octopus, sweet tripe stew, fried goat cheese with compote jam, homemade bread and almonds all complemented by our Portuguese Douro valley wine selection; Vale de Bomfim.


Amuse Bushe – Chourica & Sao Jorge Cheese – LaSalette Cook Book

For my entree, I ordered the classic “Fisherman’s Stew” made fresh California coastal seafood of;  juicy clams, mussels, shrimp and fish prepared in a rich broth with Portuguese chourica and spices.

My wife’s Wood Fired Branzino was simply the best she’s ever had!

Wood Fired Branzino

Whole Wood Fired Branzino – LaSalette Cook Book

Caldeirada – Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew – Sea bass, scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, fingerling potatoes, linguiça, lobster fumet

Vale de Bomfim

Chocolate Fetish – Chocolate mousse with almond tuile, chocolate soufflé with ruby port geléeand bitter chocolate sorbet with caramelized banana

We smiled at each other as we overheard the couple at the next table who had never tasted tripe or Portuguese cuisine before, rave on and on about it’s goodness! We knew they would become adoring fans of Portuguese food just like many others before them.

The Chocolate Fetish dessert created a perfectly sweet ending to our diner that lasted during the taxi drive back to our hotel. We had a great experience dining at LaSalette and we plan on re-creating it again next year!

You don’t have to fly to California to taste the amazing dishes that Chef Azevedo has created for his guests, just visit the LaSalette website and order the LaSalette’s cook book because most of the dishes served at the restaurant are in it!

This book is not an ordinary cook book. It is meant to be used, shared and then passed down in the family.

It contains 360 pages, over 270 recipes, and the beautiful photographs by Portuguese photographer Henrigue Bagulho will leave you craving the flavor of Portugal, and inspire you to try the recipes.

What a perfect gift for the special Portuguese foodie in your life!

*Order now for FREE SHIPPING for the month of MAY with SPECIAL CODE: “PICK UP”

*Free Shipping available in Continental USA-May only.

Here’s the video of the promo for the cook book!

“My personal mission is to do whatever I can to put Portuguese cuisine in its rightful place alongside other great cuisines in the United States. Because the truth is, if we want to survive and prosper as a culture, we need to make an impact, not merely be present.” Chef Azevedo/Owner – LaSalette

Chef Manuel Azevedo

Grilled Sardines, Pickled Sea Beans and Azorean Green Sauce – LaSalette Cook Book


Olive Oil Poached Salt Cod Fish

Alentejana Style Pork & Clams – LaSalette Cook Book

Chef Azevedo has recently opened a new restaurant in Healdsburg, CA, called Cafe Lucia which we didn’t have time to visit but it’s on our agenda for next time!


18625 Sonoma Highway 12
Sonoma Ca 95476

Cafe Lucia

Inventive, contemporary Portuguese Cuisine
in the heart of the Sonoma County Wine Country

235 Healdsburg Avenue, Suite 105
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Tel (707) 431-1113


Portuguese Food Trucks

The Food Truck scene is exploding across the country! In Boson, the number of trucks has gone from just 16 in 2011 to 56 in 2013. It was only a matter of time that we’d finally see Portuguese food trucks emerge.

Here are two that I came across. One in Orlando Fl and one in Providence RI. I’m sure there will be more of these popping up in many other locations soon. If you know of any trucks serving Portuguese food in your city please contact me so I can add them to this list! Enjoy!

Portu-Galo – Providence, RI

Serving the greater Providence Rhode Island area delicious Portuguese cuisine.

Visit their Facebook Page or Twitter Page for location updates!


Portu-Galo Menu from:


Bem Bom Food Truck – Orlando, FL 

First authentic Portuguese food truck, also serving gourmet tacos n pastries from Chef Chico Mendonça.

Local n Portuguese ingredients. Food with love. Orlando, FL ·

Francisco  ”Chico” Mendonça, known as “Chef Chico,” brings an international cooking background to the Orlando area.

He grew up in the Azores and developed a love of fresh seafood and beef used in many Portuguese dishes.

Visit their Facebook Page andTwitter Page.


Caldo Verde

Chouriço com Ananás

Pasteis de Bacalhau  com Aoli de Alho Assado

Lisbon Slider

Prego de Frango Piri-Piri

Prego de Porco

São Jorge Chouriço Burger

The Running Duck Taco “Classic”

Mango Painted Fish Tacos

Portuguese Black Beans & Rice


Portuguese Donuts





Sweet Diablo – Portuguese Cafe Meets Washington DC



Sweet Diablo – (Sweet Devil) is a downtown Portuguese Cafe in Washinton, DC. Owners Rosa Silva and Nuno Geraldes Freire opened the cafe in 2012 to bring the flavor of Portugal to the Capital city.


Pastéis de Nata, Bolas de Berlim, Queijadas, Chocolate Mousse, NYUC (Not Your Usual Cheesecake), Paninis, salads, fresh made breads, fine cheese, meats and fresh produce highlight the menu cooked the Portuguese way by Chef Michael Guerrieri. The cafe was recently featured on RTP – Noticias.

“Sweet Diablo creates savory and sweet temptations using the finest ingredients and a dedication to the European culinary tradition. Born from our childhood experiences in Portugal, we believe food should be an experience that takes over your mouth, mind and soul. Stop by our café or try our catering menu, and let us create a Sweet Diablo experience for you that is pure temptation.”

The cafe is open for Breakfast – Lunch, takeout and early Dinner until 7 pm. Catering is available to bring a taste of Europe to your office meetings, functions or other events.

Featuring:  The Best Chocolate Cake in the World

by Chef Carlos Braz Lopes

“Sweet Diablo is proud to feature renowned Portuguese Chef Carlos Braz Lopes signature chocolate cake. This flourless, gluten-free confection features thin, crunchy chocolate meringue layers filled with a creamy chocolate mousse and a ganache top. A popular sensation in Portugal, Spain, Australia and Brazil,  Sweet Diablo is proud to be the exclusive distributor of the Best Chocolate Cake in the World in the United States.”





Monday through Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Thursday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

A taste of Portugal in downtown Washington, DC, the Sweet Diablo Café is open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch and take-out orders.

Contact Them:

Phone: (202) 808-2036

Email: or


To be added to our list to receive news and special offers, please email:



(Entrance on M Street between 19th and 20th Streets)

1200 19th St. NW

Suite 130

Washington, DC 20036

(202) 808-2036

Portuguese Circle Dinner 2013 at Robert Restaurant – MAD NYC


The Portuguese Circle, is a group of Portuguese living in New York City, whose objective is to promote Portugal and its culture. For that, the Portuguese Circle has been organizing social, gastronomic and cultural events regular basis since 2007. Visit their website to view many upcoming events.

This year, the group has organizes it’s “Annual Portuguese Dinner” celebration which be held on March 10, 2013 at Robert Restaurant; located in The Museum of Arts and Design at Central Park New York City.

The menu will be prepared by Robert’s Executive Chef, Luisa Fernandes and Chef Rui Correia of Douro Restaurant in Greenwich, Connecticut.



Crudo de bacalhau
Salt cured Norwegian cod, pickled pearl onions, house smoke cured olives,
baby capers, micro cilantro, Cabernet vinegar and Portuguese olive oil
(Chef Rui Correia)

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato
Clams,shopped garlic,with Portuguese white wine and olive oil
(Chef Luisa Fernandes)


Portuguese octopus, baby black chic peas, house made piri-piri drizzle
and micro celery greens
(Chef Rui Correia)

Vitela de Lafões
Braised prime rib with red Portuguese wine from ,with fresh chestnuts and
toasted Portuguese corn bread, with parsley and Portuguese olive oil
(Chef Luisa Fernandes)


Condensed milk mousse, pulverized Maria cookies, chocolate pearls, dark caramel
(Chef Rui Correia)

Encharcada de ovos e queijo da serra
Sweet eggs cooked in sugar syrup with Portuguese cheese from Serra da Estrela
(Chef Luisa Fernandes)
Olive oil provided by Esporão



Kopke Reserva 10 years

Kopke Reserva 2009

Esporão Branco
Esporão Espumante
Wines provided by Kopke and Esporão

The cost of this wonderful Portuguese exprience will be $125 + TIP + TAX.

Reservations are made directly to the restaurant (212-299-7730)


Robert Restaurant
2 Columbus Circle – 9th Floor
New York, NY
Reservations: (212) 299-7730.



Photos and Portuguese article by: HENRIQUE MANO, Nova Iorque



O grupo Portuguese Circle, responsável pela organização dos festejos do 10 de Junho no Central Park, promove dia 10 de Março (domingo) o 2.º Jantar Anual de Gastronomia Lusa em Nova Iorque. O evento gastronómico vai ter lugar no restaurante Robert, no topo do edifício que alberga o Museum of Arts and Design, onde é chefe-executiva a lisboeta Luísa Fernandes.
A refeição irá ser confeccionada pela chefe Luísa, que em 2010 venceu o concurso ‘Chopped’ na emissora Food Network, e pelo portuense Rui Correia, proprietário do restaurante Douro – em Greenwich, Connecticut.
Foi estipulado o preço de 125 dólares por pessoa (ao que se acrescentarão as taxas e a gorjeta).
Os pratos irão ser alternados pelos dois chefes, incluindo crudo de bacalhau, amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, polvo, vitela de lafões e sobremesa (serradura e encharcada de ovos e queijo da Serra).
Os vinhos terão o selo da marca Esporão.
O 1.º Jantar Anual de Gastronomia Lusa aconteceu a 10 de Junho de 2012, no restaurante Aldea, com os chefes George Mendes, Rui Correia e David Santos.
Para mais informações ou marcação de lugares, é favor contactar (212) 299-7730.

Onde fica?
2 Columbus Circle – 9th Floor
New York, NY

George Mendes/Michelin Star Chef – Aldea Restaurant – Fox News

Kitchen Superstars: George Mendes’ taste of Portugal | Fox News Video.

Chef George Mendes makes Bacalhau a Bras!

Chef Mendes has risen to fame in the last few years receiving a Michelin Star in 2011 and again in 2012.

In 2011 he won the title of “Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef New York”, and has been featured on many TV programs including Top Chef, The Today Show, and featured in many media outlets such as these listed below.

The People’s Best New Chef: New York Area

My husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Chef George Mendes’s Aldea restaurant in New York City last year. It was a cold night in February when took a quick 15 minute cab ride and arrived at a fully booked restaurant at 9 pm.

Luckily there were two seats with the kitchen view that seemed like they had been reserved just for the two of us. We had the pleasure of watching the Chef along with his talented and efficient staff preparing our meals.

I loved the view, since it was like watching one of the cooking shows I’d seen so many times on TV.  I’d always wondered why the celebrity chefs made it look so effortless and so organized. My many years of working in restaurant kitchens told me otherwise.

Yet, Aldea’s kitchen was calm and relaxing and everything flowed smoothly. There would be no shouting at sous chefs that night, no clanging of dishes or of pots and pans. There was no temperamental “Portuguese Chef” like so many that I had worked with in my career.

That day, a very creative and talented Michelin Star Chef prepared our meal. Our dinner, was prepared with the Chef’s passion for his Portuguese culinary roots, but with a modern, artistic version of the classics. We ate, we relaxed, and we enjoyed the wonder of it all!…

(We sat in the first two seats)

Here’s what we ate that night – a delicious meal of taste tempting –  “SHRIMP ALHINHO” in a garlic sauce

TRIPE “A MODA PORTUGUESA” – prepared with tomato, white beans, chorizo, and a quail egg

“SEA SALTED CHATHAM COD ” – with forbidden black rice, Iberian chorizo, coriander-saffron broth

“SPANISH OCTOPUS – A LA PLANCHA”– a squid ink-citrus purée, chick pea stew, leek ash

Although Chef Mendes was extremely busy with a booked house, his warm and friendly Portuguese hospitality shined through when we said hello to him. He took the time to came to our table where we talked about Aldea, and his upcoming ventures. The next time I saw the chef was on TV when he appeared as contestant on Top Chef. I’m looking forward to my next visit to NYC and to Aldea!






Carne de Porco à Alentejana

Carne de Porco à Alentejana is one of the most traditional Portuguese dishes found on the menus of Portuguese restaurants through out the world.  The dishes name, “Alentejana” meas that the dish comes from the Alentejo region of Portugal.

The origin of its name, “Além-Tejo”, literally translates to “Beyond the Tagus” or “Across the Tagus”. The region is separated from the rest of Portugal by the Tagus river, and extends to the south where it borders the Algarve region.

The name Carne de Porco Alentejana was to distinguish that the pork used in the dish is from that region of the country which produces the Black Iberian Pig. The meat from the Iberian pig has a higher fat content which produces a more tender and flavorful meat.



2 lbs pork loin (cut into 2 in cubes, you can use tenderloin or reg pork loin)

1 small onion chopped

1/2 tsp cumin powder

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 tsp red pepper paste

1 – 1 /2 tbsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 cup white wine or Vinho Verde

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp Tabasco or hot sauce

4 cups raw potatoes cut into 2 inch cubes

2 lbs small fresh little neck clams

1/2 cup pickled vegetables (Gardeneira)

Chopped Cilantro for garnish (if desired)

Oil for frying


In a large bowl, season pork with; salt, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, cumin, red pepper, 1/2 cup of the wine. Stir well and let marinate for at least 2 hours or leave overnight.

Before you begin cooking the pork, fry potatoes in hot oil until golden brown, season with sea salt and set aside.

Place clams in a bowl with cold water and 1 tsp sea salt. Let them sit for about 1/2 -1 hour in refrigerator so they let the sandiness out of them.

Fried Homestyle Potatoes


Preheat large skillet or wok on high heat with 1/4 cup olive oil and add onions. Cook for about 1 minute then add the drained, marinaded pork mixture, (save the liquid). Let meat brown on all sides and cook for about 5 minutes.

Rinse and dry clams and add to the pork with 1/2 cup of wine and the leftover marinade. (Add more wine if desired to make more sauce) Cover and cook on med heat until the clams open.

Taste the pork and add more salt or Tabasco sauce if desired. Add the potatoes into the pork.  Add pickled veg and chopped cilantro for garnish.  Here’s a great video that shows you the classic step by step recipe that is similar to mine.

Enjoy! Tia Maria…


Michelin Star Restaurants – Portugal 2013

For 2013, the Michelin Dining Guide to Spain & Portugal has awarded prestigious stars to 11 chefs across Portugal. As like last year, the publication has awarded two stars each to Hans Neuner of Ocean Restaurant and Dieter Koschina of Vila Joya. Both restaurants are located in the Algarve.

Celebrity chef José Avillez returns to the list with his new restaurant Belcanto in Lisbon. Previously, Avillez was awarded a star during his tenure at Lisbon’s oldest restaurant Tavares.

Unfortunately, this year, Tavares loses its star, as does Arcadas Restaurant at Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas in Coimbra. All other restaurants from 2012 remain on the list for 2013. (

Visit for the complete article! Congratulations to these chefs.

Largo do Paço
Hotel Casa da Calçada – Amarante
Chef: Vitor Matos

The Yeatman
Chef: Ricardo Costa

Belcanto – Lisbon
Chef: Jose Avillez

Feitoria at Hotel Altis Belêm
Chef: José Cordeiro

Fortaleza do Guincho at Hotel Forteleza do Guincho, Cascais
Chef: Antoine Westermann

Henrique Leis – Almancil
Chef: Henrique Leis

Ocean Restaurant at Vila Vita Parc – Porches
Chef: Hans Neuner

São Gabriel – Almancil
Chef: Torsten Schulz

Vila Joya at Hotel Vila Joya – Galé
Chef: Dieter Koschina

Willie’s – Vilamoura
Chef: Willie Wurger

Il Gallo d’Oro at the Cliff Bay Hotel – Funchal
Chef: Benoît Sinthon



LaSalette Restaurant Cookbook – Cozinha Nova Portuguesa

Hello to all my “Portuguese Foodies”!

I have an amazing GIVEAWAY for you this month!

WIN a FREE – LaSalette Cook Book and a FREE $50 Gift Certificate to LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma CA courtesy of Chef Manuel Azevedo!

Just leave a comment at the end of the end of this post or on my Tia Maria’s Blog  to enter to win! *

*Contest has ended 10/30/2012* Thanks for participating!


I tried to come up some catchy phrases to describe the Chef Manuel Azevedo’s cook book; LaSalette Restaurant  – Cozinha Nova Portuguesa, but one world says it all.  Spectacular!

The Chef begins his book with the heartfelt Portuguese custom of greeting guests! ….Bem-Vindo! “Welcome to the LaSalette Restaurant cookbook and the thank you for letting me share with you my passion for Portuguese cuisine and my vision for it.”  Chef Manuel Azevedo

By beginning the first chapter with a very familiar story of family and sacrifice which most Portuguese immigrants can relate to, Chef Azevedo makes an instant connection to the reader by taking us on a personal journey of how he developed his passion for Portuguese cuisine and how it inspired his menu at LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma CA. which is named after the person who taught him to cook, his mother, LaSalette. 

“My mother, LaSalette, instilled in my my love of cooking and Portuguese cuisine, and some of my earliest memories revolve around food. I can still smell the smoky aroma of linguica curing over an open stove.” Chef Azevedo

As I read further along, I learned that the chef and I have a shared passion. We want to  inspire people to learn about our unique Portuguese cuisine and we want to promote it, so that it can receive the recognition that it deserves. 

“My personal mission is to do whatever I can to put Portuguese cuisine in its rightful place alongside other great cuisines in the United States. Because the truth is, if we want to survive and prosper as a culture, we need to make an impact, not merely be present.” Chef Azevedo

But this is not a standard cook book with a copulation of recipes. This cook book is a learning tool for anyone that wants to learn about how Portuguese flavors work in creating not only the traditional classics but how the flavors can help you to “Think Like a Portuguese Chef” (page 322) and to create your own interpretation on the classics in your own kitchen.

The book is massive, with 370 pages and 270 recipes which include US and metric conversions.  The chapter titled; Flavor Toolkit, has recipes for all the classic spice blends and flavor profiles used in Portuguese cuisine. In this book, you will learn recipes from the basics such as Piri Piri sauce, soups, main dishes, breads and pastries which include the all time Azorean classic Massa Sovada (Sweet Bread).

The stunning and beautiful photos of pallet tempting dishes taken by Portuguese Photographer, Henrigue Bagulho will leave you craving the flavor of Portugal and inspire you to try the recipes.

“For me like for most Portuguese, eating is not merely the consumption of food. It is an act of appreciation! Chef Manuel Azevedo.

In Chapter’s titled Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter the chef takes us with him on his personal journey through Portugal where we are given a connoisseurs brief history lesson about the unique flavors that make up Portuguese cuisine. The recipes in Cozinha Nova Portuguesa (New Portuguese Cuisine) incorporate these traditional flavors with the local fresh ingredients of Sonoma CA, to create a unique menu that has received rave reviews by his customers since 1998.

“It’s been nearly 15 years since LaSalette welcomed it’s first guests and I’m ever thankful, they’re still coming back for more.” Chef Azevedo

Visit the LaSalette website to purchase the NEW Cookbook, gift certificates, and quality products such as spices, piri piri sauce and embroidered apparel.

I encourage you to buy this cook book because this is a book that will be passed down to the next generation! It’s a perfect book not only for the special “Portuguese Cook” in your life but  for someone that is just beginning to learn about the extraordinary cuisine that inspired the cuisines of countries all over the world!

Congratulations to another great Portuguese American Chef on this outstanding achievement. If you’d like to contact the chef to congratulate him you may reach him at LaSalette!

Sample video of the stunning dishes in Chef Manuel Azevedo’s cook book

LaSalette-Restaurant – Facebook page

Read More: Face Book Page – Henrique Mano – Luso Americano

Random drawing to be held on October 30th. 1 Winner will be notified by email or Facebook message.

Please share this contest and enter today! Tia Maria…

No Reservations – Anthony Bourdain Explores Lisbon, Portugal

Anthony Bourdain taped his Travel Chanel show; “No Reservations” in Lisbon” last fall, but the episode finally aired on April 30, 2012. I enjoyed watching the variety of the rich cuisine, the culture, and I even learned a  little bit of history. Portugal, as Anthony and I discovered is experiencing a culinary and cultural rebirth as it embraces it’s past tradition and culture.  Here’s a link to the No Reservations Youtube Channel which should have the episode posted there in a couple of weeks.



Anthony holds a press conference in Lisbon in Nov 2011.



No Reservations

Restaurants visited by Anthony in this episode:


O Ramiro

Tony meets with local chefs Henrique Sa Pessoa and Jose Avillez at O Ramiro. Specializing in seafood, O Ramiro has become one of the most popular spots for seafood in Lisbon. O Ramiro Av. Almirante Reis n_1 – H, 1150-007 Lisbon, Portugal

Both chef’s Avillez, and Pessoa, will be welcomed by Chef Anthony Goncalves, Executive Chef of 42 The Restaurant/Bellota at the Ritz Carlton Westchester NY ; this year where they will prepare a joint menu. Dates have not been specified yet but I will post them when finalized.

Henrique Sá PessoaExecutive Chef –   Alma, Lisbon, Portugal –  RTP cooking site –


Calçada Marquês de Abrantes, 92 Santos District, Lisbon, Portugal

Tony dines at Chef Henrique Sa Pessoa’s restaurant Alma with local comedian/actor Zé Diogo Quintela.



José AvillezMichelin Star Chef

Cantinho do Avillez

Rua dos Duques de Braganca 7, 1200-162 Lisbon, Portugal

Tony dines with local producer/musician Tóze Brito at Chef Jose Avillez’s restaurant Cantinho do Avillez.


100 Maneiras

Rua do Teixeira, 35, Bairro Alto — 1200-459 Lisbon, Portugal

After a great match of Chinquilho, Tony and his new found friends head to chef Ljubomir Stanisic’s 100 Maneiras for lunch.


Sol e Pesca

Rua Nova do Carvalho 44 | Bairro Alto, Lisbon, Portugal

Tony meets up with the Lisbon-based band Dead Combo (Tó Trips and Pedro V. Gonçalves) for some drinks at Sol e Pesca, a tackle store turned bar.


O Trevo

Praça Luís de Camões, 48, 1200-243, Lisbon, Portugal

Tony has a Portuguese version of a pork sandwich topped with chili oil and mustard, with a side of beer.



“Aldea” Makes New York Magazine’s Top 101 Restaurants in NYC


Congratulations to Portuguese American Chef George Mendes who’s restaurant “ALDEA” made New York Magazine’s top 101 restaurants in NYC.

“The talented George Mendes has spent decades wandering the globe, studying under some of the great culinary divas of our time (Ducasse, Bouley, etc.). At this sleek, inventive little restaurant in the Flatiron district, he finally has a kitchen to call his own. The Portuguese-American cook has a fondness for taking traditional Continental recipes and reworking them in all sorts of unexpected ways, but the dish I keep dreaming about is the great ­paella-like arroz de pato (duck rice), which Mendes folds with duck confit and tiny nickels of chorizo and finishes with crunchy, barely visible wafers of duck crackling.” Adam Platt (NYM)