The best ham in the world is Jamon Iberico, period.
Produced from black Iberian pigs that roam the southern Spanish pastures, freely gorging on acorns, grass and herbs, Jamon Iberico is high in fat content and even more so in flavor. If you're lucky enough to have consumed Jamon Iberico, chances are you've done so in its cured form, which literally melts at room temperature. This isn't Boar's Head.
At La Fonda del Sol, however, executive chef Chris DeLuna is serving up fresh cuts of Jamon Iberico as a seasonal special off of his Jamon Iberico de Bellota menu. Jamon Iberico in its cured form only first arrived in the United States in 2007, and the fresh pork is rarely available outside of Spain, so this is a real treat.
Paired with Spanish wines, the Jamon Iberico de Bellota menu continues to build by putting the emphasis on the star ingredient. An amuse of Fava beans, morsels coated with Iberico fat and served on a crostini, dissolves in your mouth and is rich, but balanced.
Next comes the Secreto, the "secret" cut from under the pig's rib cage, which was traditionally kept by the butcher for himself. With a single bite of this tender pork, you understand why. Salted with only a pinch of coarse salt to enhance a fine layer of charred fat, the thin strips of grilled Jamon fall apart with each moist, juicy bite.
Then the Pluma, a seared Iberico sirloin steak, presented over a marcona almond puree which draws out the nutty flavors of the steak itself, is doubly reinforced with a drizzling of cider pork sauce.
Finally the Chulatero, an Iberico rib eye, presented tableside, pluming with smoke from the wine vines it was just grilled over. The hearty aromas fill the dining room and leave you yearning for a bite as the server takes the steak back to the kitchen for plating. Served bone in, it's the highlight of a meal that continues to outdo itself. Leaking au jus, each bite is a smoky reminder of how good food can be, especially when the foundation ingredient is perfection.
After a meal this delicious you are certain to be as happy as a pig in... well, you'll be very happy.
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