Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why Tapas bars in New York are ideal for girls

Last night we had dinner with some friends at Degustation, a heavily praised newcomer to the Tapas scene. We were actually seated at adjacent Jewel Bako because we were a rather large group and Degustation has only 15 seats. The service was very attentive (except for the fact that the sushi chef closed down at 11) and the overall food was very good. Now to the title story: the portions are absolutely tiny! The "tortilla" which Frank Bruni so eloquently describes as "poached quail eggs and shallot confit inside pockets of thinly sliced potato. Each of these savory bonbons was best consumed in one bite, which set off a gooey eruption" are indeed quite tasty - the problem is there are two tiny bonbons on a $6 plate and I could easily eat 10 of them just to start. As girls tend to eat less, this kind of place is perfect for them :-)The experience was similar with the minute foie gras and the somewhat terse lamb.
Over the last few years we have eaten Tapas at Tasca, Casa Mono, Tia Pol, Boqueria, Kana, Pintxos, Xunta and Pipa and have almost always had the same experience: artful, varying degree of quality, definitely americanized (my Spanish girlfriend will testify for that) and TOO SMALL.
In Spain you can walk into any Tapas bar, order 3-5 plates and have a great, simple meal - in New York the same will set you back almost as much as the Porterhouse at Keens!
Cry for help: can someone, ideally from the Basque country please come over to NYC and open a great, authentic tapas place? I will spread the word to at least 100 eaters in the first week!
And if you do want to try all of these yourself, here are my top 5 tapas restaurants in NYC:
1) Casa Mono
2) Pipa (not really Tapas focused)
3) Pintxos
4) Degustation
5) Tia Pol

Please send me any hot contestants!


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