209 East 49th (2/3), NYC

Pampano is an excellent restaurant from the king of high class Mexican dining, Richard Sandoval. I visited his other NYC place, Maya, a number of years ago, and it was quite good, although a little stuffy and expensive. But Pampano gets it right on all counts. The space is white and airy with funky beige ceiling fans and a large outdoor sundeck (although it was raining on our visit). The service was friendly and efficient and the menu was alluring and creative. Of course you get what you pay for, and Pampano is on par with other nicer Manhattan restaurants. But he had their delicious pre-fixe $26 lunch. We chose the shrimp empanada, and ceviche for apps. I don’t usually love ceviche, but this was firm and flavorful. The mains were pork enchiladas and skirt steak with garlic chorizo mashed potatoes. The rice pudding for dessert was nice, however the other, 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, was surprisingly plain. Everything was outstanding and the portions were quite large. We also ordered the guacamole, but really did not need to. I would definitely recommend Pampano and the lunch menu for a wonderful, luxurious oasis in midtown. It was one of the best meals we have had in quite some time.