If you’ve been bummed about the loss of Forcella’s fried pizza ever since it closed on Bowery, here’s some consolation: this Thursday, owner Giulio Adriani will reboot the place as a Spanish restaurant.
Espoleta (which means wishbone in Spanish, just as Forcella meant wishbone in Italian) will open Thursday with a menu designed by consulting chef Sue Torres, who won high praise for her Mexican cooking at Sueños before it closed earlier this year after more than a decade (you may also know her a judge on Food Network’s Chopped).
You’ll find some of the same standards here as you’ll find further down the Bowery at Cata: pan con tomate, patatas braves, Iberico ham, etc. But there’s a lot here beyond Tapas 101, including several Mexican touches: chorizo done with Taza cinnamon chocolate, a pork chop braised in Negra Modelo, and beef picadillo empanadas in salsa verde.
In lieu of the usual artichoke dip, there’s an artichoke fondue made with Mahon and Ahumado de Pria cheeses, accompanied by bread that Adriani, who collaborated with Torres on several dishes, will bake in the wood-burning oven. Torres, WH
On the beverage side of things, manager and wine director Ariel Lacayo is serving up wines by the half glass. Ask this onetime “coolest maitre d’ in town” about his days at Il Cantinori, because he definitely has some stories to tell.
“We opened in 1985 and the day we opened who walks on?” he told us when we dropped in today to shoot some photos. “Madonna with Jellybean Benitez, Richard Gere, Andy Warhol, Mapplethorpe, and Calvin Klein — and they never stopped coming.”
It remains to be seen whether Madonna will drop into Espoleta, but the menu, below, is doing its best to entice her.
Espoleta, 334 Bowery, bet. E. 2nd and 3rd St.; 212-466-3300