Acclaimed chef, author and restaurateur Rafael Palomino recently opened Bistro Latino in the space first occupied by Boxing Cat Café and then Greenwich Tavern in Old Greenwich. The vast dining room has been done over in dark wood flooring which is flanked by racked walls that flaunt an extensive portfolio of international wines.
Palomino won his food-star stripes when he opened Sonora in Manhattan almost two decades ago, introducing Manhattan to Nuevo Latino cuisine, and earning raves from the city’s food critics. Sonora's wild success inspired Rafael to bring his unique cooking style to satellite restaurants in New Haven, Tuckahoe, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Sonora now lives in Port Chester.
Despite its name, Greenwich's Bistro Latino is not really Nuevo Latino since the dishes are more of Spain than Latin and South America. Rafael has created a menu that features European tapas and paella -- which he anoints with flavors from his Columbian and Queens roots. "Spanish bathed in Picante Style," is how the restaurant describes it. As a result, Bistro Latino is really more about invention than tradition.