Friday, August 7, 2009

The Paella Virgin. (Socarrat Paella Bar NYC, Restaurant Review)

If you read our review about Raines Law Room (a NYC speakeasy/lounge) then you are up to speed. If you didn't, I'll cut to the chase. Our friend, who I have decided to call "San Diego," (much to his chagrin), was in town from San Diego. He took us to a killer place for drinks called Raines, then onto the truly spectacular, Socarrat Paella Bar.

Let's get this out on the table. I was a Paella Virgin until last night. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I just never met a Paella I was interested in. I figured some day I'd go to Spain and really go for it (inspired by Mario Batalli and the annoying Gwenyth Paltrow' show "On the Road Again" on PBS) (on a side note, why is Mario traveling to Spain with Gwenyth? Is he trying to mess with my head? It should be me for chrissake, I mean, she's on a freaking macrobiotic diet - she is so annoying on that show, I can't get inspired by her and her soy latte, non meat eating ways. I digress....)

Where was I. Oh yeah, Socarrat Paella Bar. As their website says, "Socarrat, the quintessence of the perfect paella and for which the restaurant is named, is the delectable, sensuous crust that forms on the bottom of the paella pan when the liquid is rendered and the rice reaches its peak of succulence."

I could easily leave it at that but, here is a bit more and the quicky review:

The Lo Down:
  • You can't make reservations, so just show up, put your name it and then head to the bar on the corner for a cocktail (just past "Nasty Pig" on the south side of the street. You are right, I just wanted to point out there is a store there called Nasty Pig)
  • The paella takes at least 30-40 minutes to cook, so keep that in mind, we ordered it before we were even seated so they get it going.
  • The joint is pretty narrow and long, like a bar, but it really doesn't matter.
  • The prices are reasonable $20 or so for Paella ($6-12 for tapas)- you have to order a 2 person minimum paella. We got 2 paellas (enough for 4) plus two tapas, and .. we. ate. every. last. bite. period. and we also polished off a bottle of wine. (I thought husband would die in the cab home from fullness, or at the very least, loose his "lunch" as it were. I on the other hand felt enlightened and fannnntastic!)
The Review:
  • Tapas: We got the garlic shrimp & the fried artichoke. Both were simple but refined, fresh and bursting with flavor. Score: A
  • Paella: We got the Carne with chicken, chorizo, duck, (and magic) and the Arroz Negro that was awesome and black because of the squid ink and filled with scallop, shrimp and even more magic. Score: A+++++ (I think all 3 of us were in full agreement)
*Why, you ask, was the Paella so magical? It was kinda like a fine wine. It started of really good, and then the more it sat there and the rice crusted on the bottom, and we scraped it onto our little plates, the better and bolder the flavors got. At the end, when down to the final bites of crispy bottom, the only sounds from our seats were, "mmmm, mmm, oh man, oh god, did you get that crunchy," and more mms and ahhs. You could taste the freshness of the ingredients and the true passion and love behind the dishes and the process of making them.

We can't wait to go back.

I have a feeling that Socarrat Paella Bar is a little bit like one's first love. While I may try other Paella, especially if in Spain, I will always have a special place in my heart for Socarrat.

Still in the food coma, but nearly ready for more! The Wilsons


  1. check out Zane Lamprey in three sheets trip to Porto/Potugual for real Authentic Paella, or check your local Portuguese Restaurant for the Real Deal!

  2. Okay Cam- this is Caroline Pacheco- Logan here and I am in a reading food coma alright. I am so hungry right now don't know if I should seek out Spanish food, bagels, Chocolate, wine or a airline ticket to come see you. What a great blog. I think you are amazing. We are heading to Syracuse next weekend to meet friends on their Finger Lake house whatever that is. Wish I would of came to see you for dinner in NY first. Keep up the amazing work. Might just have to start my own blog

  3. Thanks for the tip on Zane Lamprey!
    and to Caroline - You are SO cute for checking this out! I would have LOVED to see you here! maybe next time?? I saw the pix from the reunion, you look gorgeous! and YES you should start a blog, I'll be your first follower :)
    Big hugs!
    sign up to get email updates if you want on the home page down the right side!



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