Thursday, October 9, 2008

Socarrat Paella Bar

Mabel and I just got back from eating at Socarrat.

She's post-call and I'm staying in to read and write, so we figured that we should make the most of our time at lunch. This place just got a positive Bruni review, and lunch seemed to be a good way to avoid crowds.

It was really very good. We got some fried artichokes to start, which were good, and Paella Valenciana which had snails, rabbit, and bits of pork ribs. From what I've read, Paella Valenciana is one of the more traditional paellas. Although there's no seafood, the snails gave it a nice shellfish taste. Mabel says that the snail shells were the most beautiful snail shells she'd ever seen. I would have taken a picture, but I forgot to put the battery in the camera.

Anyway, the paella was great. It was on the saltier side which I like. There were a few lima beans in there and some peas on the half shell, if that makes sense. It looked nice.

I would say that one of the main draws is this Spanish guy who works there. He seems like someone who could be running a tapas bar anywhere in Spain. I think that he must be the guy that Bruni refers to, going around and helping people dish out their paella. He suggested to us to leave the edges of the pan, and the socarrat, untouched until we'd mixed and eaten the center of the pan. And only at the end of the meal, to scrape and eat the socarrat. I like how that works. It's like a dish that they would do for you at a fancy pants restaurant: paella two ways. The soft paella and then the crunchy paella. Except in the case of paella at Socarrat, that's the only way to do it.

Socarrat Paella Bar
259 W 19th St (btn 7th and 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 462-1000

PS- This obsession with socarrat reminds me of the Korean Noo Roong Jee which is the burnt rice left over after cooking rice in a stone pot.

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