Boqueria – New York City, NY
Like any respectable romantic comedy, whatever you’ve been looking for has usually been right in front of you all along. So it was with Boqueria, which is situated along my daily walk to work on Spring St. Since I don’t normally have the time (or the money for that matter) to go out and indulge in a tapas feast, I never really gave it much thought, regardless of how enticing their daily quips about sangria and pirates on the blackboard out front were.
Recently though, my wife and I had a chance to come to the city and actually enjoy its most valuable commodity, food. I already had a couple of places in mind, Boqueria and Perla, but that’s for another post. All I needed to see was the fresh cheeses and cured meats in the window and I was sold. Despite the risk, I was fairly confident that we’d be in for a great meal even after doing little to no research (out of character I know).
The danger lies in the fact that many restaurants wrongly tout themselves as “tapas bars” when they don’t understand what that means. It’s similar to how Logan feels about “fusion”, yet another word that American eateries have re-purposed to take advantage of the whimsical imagery that one gets when they think of tapas. A wonderful seaside niche, serving up small dishes of freshly caught seafood and locally sourced meats and cheeses, along with endless glasses of simple (yet delectable) house wine and sangria. Sadly this is rarely what you get when you enter a restaurant advertising tapas in the States.
Boqueria rectifies that sorry state of affairs. As we sat, my eyes were immediately drawn to the enticing list of tapas items. My wife and I settled on three dishes and a salad to compile our midday feast:
To start, a simple organic mixed green salad with herbed croutons and a citrus vinaigrette. This was no tired house salad. The greens were vibrant and the citrus vinaigrette sparkled with freshness, excellent olive oil didn’t hurt either.
Skewered Colorado lamb marinated in lemon and cumin and slathered in a salsa verde (more like chimichurri but no complaints here)
Beef and potato croquettes with salsa brava and garlic aioli were moist and tender with great heat from the salsa offset by the creamy tang of the aioli.
Sautéed wild mushrooms with shaved Manchego and thyme. These were reminiscent of the wonderful sauteed cepes we had in Paris. Tender and juicy, the Manchego-thyme flavor was a winning combination.
Wash all that down with their refreshing house made sangria, and you’ve got yourself a Barcelona Teleporter right there on the table. Boqueria is the perfect spot to grab a few nibbles on an activity filled Saturday afternoon, especially since it doesn’t leave so full that you ruin the wonderful Italian meal you have planned that evening. More on that later…Boqueria everyone, get your tapas on!