It was packed last Thursday at Boqueria on 19th St. People crammed every last space along the bar, ordering sangria and cava and rose and tempranillo, laughing and passing drinks along, apologizing for the inconvenience of their order to my friend and I who had managed to score two seats at this zoo they called a bar. We didn’t mind. The place felt alive with an energy that felt promising and indeed it was.
I ordered the special cocktail- a cava romero- a clean, crisp sip of rosemary, lemon and gin topped with cava. My friend remarked it smelled like a really fresh lemon granita, the one you get in Italy. Her name is Giovanna, and she would know these things.
These are the best tapas I’ve had in a long time, maybe ever. We started with blistered shisito peppers that I would happily give up chips for. Slightly spicy, lightly crispy, with satisfying crunches of sea salt mixed in, these little green peppers were incredible. Then we had salt cod brandade baked on two pieces of toast- I literally groaned when I took a bite of this thing- whipped up so light, yet creamy and rich and salty on the lightest sliver of toast. There were grilled octopus skewers, delicately shaved sea scallops served atop crushed potatoes that had been drizzled in good olive oil, fluke served with pickled ramps, a simple pan con tomate. For dessert, a simple hazelnut ice cream served atop chocolate mousse, which (now there were three of us) we devoured apparently quite loudly, as two men sitting next to us remarked after we’d finished that they were wondering what made us act like animals.
Boqueria has a Soho location as well, which I have not been to. I highly recommend this spot- it’s amazing.
Flatiron: 53 W. 19th bet 5th and 6th
Soho: 171 Spring St.
See the menu (they serve brunch that looks cool!) on their website.