One fine and cold night last week I was planning a dinner for four. Hmph, I thought. Where to? What would be a fun and new place to drink wine and eat lots of food? What would be a great object-of-my-obsession-Spain-centric spot? Hmph! Boqueria Soho.
As per my usual no reservations game-plan, I sat with a fine glass of rose cava (Spanish sparkling wine tends to have larger bubbles and it’s less refined than champagne) whilst I waited for the rest of my team to show up and ignored the fact that the knowledgeable bartender called me “sweetheart” (I may look 18, but don’t call me sweetheart mmmkay?). The wine list was thourough and explored the various regions of Spain and various price points. I ordered a great Rioja for one team member who had a rather hard day at work and we ended up drinking it the whole night.
Upon entering and sitting at BoqSo, one easily takes notices on how well the decor fits the food like my new Abaete dress fits me. The former Kin Khao space is outfitted with a long white marble bar, sleek blonde wood panels, an open kitchen and tall banquettes lining the walls…I had some time to muse about my surroundings as most everyone was a touch late but I’m not complaining…mwwwahhahaha.
In more news, we had to wait quite a while to be seated but it was worth it as we dined at a coveted corner banquet where the quickly men realized they had no say in what we ordered as we femmes took over the menus. Tapas? For 4? We started with 9. Here’s a run-through of what we ordered + my comments of which you may or may not care to read.
Patatas Bravas: classic, well prepared and well spiced.
Pimientos de Padrón (Shishito peppers): I wanted then to be saltier and they could have charred them a touch more but we all know how I love my shishito’s…
Dátiles con Béicon (Dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeón, wrapped in bacon): Ain’t nothing wrong here kids. It’s a classic flavor combination: sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy.
Croquetas Cremosas: Setas, Bacalao y Cochinillo (Creamy croquettes: Mushroom, Salt Cod and Suckling Pig): Light and delicate textures. The clear winner was the suckling pig. I could have done without the mushroom.
Poor Man’s Rice: This was a surprise hit. Creamy rice with lamb sausage. It was a hearty dish and welcomed on a table spread with finger nibbles.
La Serena (A soft floral cheese made with unpasteurized Merino sheep’s milk): This was one of the most incredible, sophisticated, feminine, silkiest, smoothest, fragrant and floral cheeses I have ever had. Simply amazing.
Aged Manchego (12 month aged sheep’s milk cheese from La Mancha,
notes of caramel and nuts): Nothing new here. Manchego is a solid, standard Spanish cheese. A tad mundane.
Jamón Serrano (Spanish ham, aged 15 months): I wanted this to be better. So far the best Jamon I’ve had in New York has been at Despana on Broome St.
Chorizo Cantimpalo (Mildly spicy pork sausage cured in pimentón): Mon favorite! Chorizo is one of my cured meat boyfriends, I love the spicy, smoky taste and the vibrant red color – owed to the paprika used to cure and spice the pork meat.
After I we licked the plates clean, the rumble in my tummy wasn’t satiated yet so we stayed the course and ordered:
Cojonudo (Fried quail eggs and chorizo on toast): It’s breakfast for din! Chorizo is a great meat to pair with eggs. The yolk oozes out onto the toast making this tapa (singular form of tapas, heeee) a perfecrt bite.
Monte Enebro (Unique semi-soft pasteurized goat’s milk cheese, aged 2-3 months in ash): Smooth. Mundane.
Valdeón (Creamy, sharp blue cheese made with a blend of sheep, cow and goat’s milk): Wahoo. This was the same cheese stuffed in the dates and it’s the craziest fromage I have ever tasted. It’s as if a Gorgonzola made babies with Carmelo Anthony’s foot after a playoff game. Stinky and lovely.
12 agreeable dishes and a few bottles of Rioja was convincing enough for me to know that Boqueria Soho is without a doubt one of the best “I have to plan a dinner for a group and have no idea where to go” solution. Spanish tapas easily lends itself to group satisfaction, even for the pickiest of eaters and at Boqueria Soho they aim to please with a few easy dishes and a handful of more adventurous ones. The atmosphere is jovial and fun and there is certainly a wine for every palette. I do wish the service was warmer and less “downtown” as it would behoove the establishment to do-as-the-Spanish-do and make you feel like some sort of dysfunctional family.
Boqueria Soho//171 Spring St//212.343.4255