A wonderful guest post which talks about the Spanish cuisine in New York City by the lovely blogger Nubia DuVall Wilson. I hope you enjoy it and also stop by her blog as well!!
photo by Soccarat Restaurant
One of my favorite cuisines is food from Spain. From tapas to paella, I love the savory, meat- and cheese-heavy entrées! After living in Spain and experiencing the local eats first-hand, I’ve become a bit of a Spanish food snob. It is one of my pet peeves to go to a restaurant claiming to serve “comida Espanola” and the menu options feature Gorgonzola cheese and Italian wine (yes, it does happen!). Thanks to New York City, I’ve been able to have authentic Iberian fare stateside. Here’s a list of my favorite spots, as well as menu suggestions at each. Salud!
Tapas Restaurant photo credit Christopher Wilson
This trend from Andalucía (southern Spain) began a long time ago when bars gave small bites of food complimentary with patrons’ drink orders—the “tapa,” which means cover, was placed on top of the wine glass. Think of it as a more sophisticated version of bar nuts!
croquetas de jamon photo credit Christopher Wilson
Las Ramblas – 170 West 4th Street
Very intimate and cozy, this Greenwich Village tapas bar has about eight tables inside, so get there early if you want a table right away (they don’t take reservations). Squeezing into your seat is worth it as the menu has popular favorites such as croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes) and Manchego cheese, as well as specialty plates like grilled ostrich.
Menu suggestions: Piquillos con Morcilla (stuffed peppers with sausage and cheese), Patatas Bravas (spicy fried potatoes), and Albondigas (meatballs with Manchego cheese)
Boqueria in SoHo NYC
Boqueria – 171 Spring Street (also in Flatiron),
Nestled in-between chic boutiques in SoHo, Boqueria is a great tapas restaurant option for big groups. I took my friend who is a vegetarian and she appreciated the meatless options, such as Espinacas a la Catalana (sautéed spinach with pine nuts and garlic). If you don’t want to eat tapas all night, there are entrée options.
Menu suggestions: Pintxos Morunos (seared lamb skewers), Bombas de la Barceloneta (beef and potato croquettes), and Salteado de Setas (sautéed wild mushrooms with Manchego cheese)
Paella by Soccarat Restaurant
Originating from Valencia, Spain, paella is not authentic paella unless it is prepared in a traditional cast iron paella pan.
Soccarat – 259 W 19th St. (also in Nolita)
There is only one place I will eat paella in the U.S., and it’s Soccarat restaurant. It is the most authentic paella I’ve had outside of Spain. From the restaurant’s website: “Socarrat is that delectable, scrumptious crust that forms at the bottom of the paella pan when the liquid is rendered and the rice has reached its peak of succulence.” The paella is made for two (but even three could share it, they give you so much!) and it takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare, so you can eat some tapas while you wait! When you get down to the bottom of the pan, your waiter will come over to scrape the leftover paella and soccarat for you—it’s delish!
Menu suggestions: Meat Paella comes with pork, duck, chicken, and chorizo; Soccarat Paella has chicken, beef, shrimp, mussels and clams; for tapas, try the Spicy Chorizo
Nubia lived in New York City for ten years before moving 16 miles away to South Orange, NJ. She writes the blog Encounters with Strangers, which features humorous stories of what it’s like to interact with the interesting characters who work and live in New York City.
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