By Pepper

translates to hopscotch in English. Anyone up for hopscotch between America and Spain? That’s basically what
Maximo Tejada accomplishes in his menu offerings at Rayuela.

Just take a peak
at the traditional Spanish all time favorite “arroz con pollo”; this is served
with apple sausage and Valencia rice
flavored with paprika, tomatoes and capers.  Seeing that my other
half is of mixed descent, I would like to think that anytime you mix cultures
or food you end up with
a better result. Seems like it holds true in this case.

My trips to LES mostly consist of
picking up donuts, blueberry pancakes and crepes which haven’t done much for my
savory palate. Rayuela was a nice surprise. Walking into a
romantically lit room with tab top curtains and leather ottomans serving as
chairs, the setting is contemporary and somewhat sexy. Great date
place! The tree on the main level and stones in the bathroom add an
organic clean feeling to the mix. The restaurant is about two and
half levels with bars on both floors. The half, is for the bathroom, which
is below the main floor and has a shared sink for both sexes and stalls in
separate rooms. Very cute idea, I think this further adds to the sexiness. We
sat upstairs on high stools near the bar. Upon arrival there weren't too
many customers, so our service was very attentive. We were able to ask
questions and recommendations without feeling rushed. 

Rayuela also offers a slew of options when it comes to
ceviche. We ordered quite a handful along with the hot appetizers. As
always the case with me, and for the group I ate with, we filled up on
appetizers before the entrees. A good indication of how much we enjoyed
our food. Our orders for appetizers were continuously coming to the table
along with bread. The bread was incredible.  Pan de bono is what
it’s called. Its bread made from yucca and cheese. It’s sweet yet a
little salty, the best combo in my opinion. Some dishes worth ordering are
, Cangrejo
Chino (ceviche of crab and shrimp marinated in a lychee and guanabana
citrus sauce with rocotto, pear and jalapeno)
, Siete Potencies (ceviche
 lobster, shrimp, scallop, crab, clams, mussels and octopus in a
green tomatillo sauce), Churrasco con Camarones (grilled beef tenderloin
topped with shrimp chimichurri) and Paella de Coco
rice infused with lemongrass, coconut milk and ginger, served with shrimp,
calamari, scallops, octopus, manila clams and peas). See their full menu

165 Allen Street 
New York, NY 
(212) 253-8840