Location: 53 West 19th Street (btw 5th & 6th Ave)
Price: $7-$19 per dish
I feel like Spanish tapas is one of those food where I just don’t really know what to expect. In NYC where every Spanish tapas restaurant is trying to do something different or special with each of their little dishes, there isn’t much consistency…maybe the only consistent thing is the paella. So without much choice or say about a dinner spot, I ended up at Boqueria over on 19th street. First off, what is it about 19th street, I mean all the Tapas/Spanish spots? There is Sala 19 right next door, you got Pipa a block down & you have Socarrat a couple of blocks down the other direction…I guess no reason. I’ve only been to Sala 19 before which, was reasonably solid place & Boqueria reminded me or a smaller, more lit, quieter, & slightly cheaper version of Sala 19. Bonus was that despite the restaurant being very crowded, we got a large 4 person round table right away & our servers were quite attentive & kind. Everything started off decently well and as we started eating I thought the small dishes at Boqueria were excellent.
The patatas bravas, a pseudo Spanish hash browns drizzled with a delicious sauce was great as well as the croquetas cremosa, a cream puff with mushrooms and a flavorful cream inside. The two items off the special menu which we got (pictured below) had well cooked meat and very fresh ingredients which we were all impressed by.
At the beginning of the meal we put in a order for Paella de Mariscos and were were going to top off our stomachs with this large dish made perfectly for 4 people. Unfortunately we were sorely disappointed with this dish b/c the rice didn’t seem well cooked and the dish wasn’t piping hot. The flavor wasn’t quite there either considering all the seafood & spices they had in there.
The redeeming factor was that the waitress had told us they were trying out a new recipe for this paella dish and it was in it “experimental” stage & so when we expressed our thoughts on their flavorless “experimental” paella, they gave us ½ off the price of the paella. I’ll take that considering we still killed off the entire dish of the paella to fill us up.
I think this is really a great place to go for wine or sangria and get a couple of tapas dishes with a friend or with a group to share. The flatiron location on 19th makes this spot not TOO crowded & the interior environment is great for conversation…and if your conversation gets boring you can always stare at the array of cured meats hanging on the walls to keep you entertained.