We visited Leña today just before they ended their Sunday brunch, although the two things we tried are also on the regular menu. The place is quite large, with numerous four-tops, low and high, two large-party tables (one that could easily seat 20, the other maybe 12), and a very nice patio overlooking Prospect. Lots of space between tables. We sat inside because it was overcast and there was a chill in the air. The motif here seems to be “rough-hewn”, with new metal chairs that have markings to make them look old (e.g., paint-scuffed, etc). Pleasant enough ambience, and friendly service.
I ordered the kastakan pulpo, and my companion got the aguachile bravo. We also ordered packaged beer. I was a little disappointed that the Modelo Especial (that we both got) came in cans. I’ve never had this beer from a can, although I must say it was pretty fresh-tasting. I think if it had been poured before reaching our table, I wouldn’t have known.
The aguachile was very nice. A delicate marinade that supposedly included “habanero mustard”, and had some interesting herbs on top. Very mildly spicy but no flavor of habaneros at all. Served with “tostadas”, which I’d call taco chips (very plain and ordinary). Other ingredients in the aguachile didn’t seem to match the online description either, but perhaps the concoction is dumbed-down during brunch. Even if so, it was quite tasty.
The pulpo dish was very rich and very filling. There was a lot of octopus and chicharon in it. A lot. This came with an “habanero crema” on the side, velvety-smooth, heavy, and tasty, but again no hint of habanero flavor. Our server also brought out some habanero oil, but even that lacked the flavor of the chile. The dish, served in a large and very unusual bowl, came with three house-made corn tortillas (just ok). I enjoyed it, but thought it needed more “punch”.
We were one of only a handful of patrons in an otherwise empty, cavernous space at ~2:30 pm. I know that’s a slow time of day, so perhaps it’s busier in the evening, or maybe they’re just soft opening for now. Our server confirmed, by the way, that they were indeed hiring late last year. Things got way behind.
Not cheap. Before tax and tip, our lunch was $44.