We were just at El Charro over the 4th of July weekend. I just love the place. I've been to Spain, and their paella Valenciana is an excellent version(as you know there are many)....an avocado salad we had was perfect...as was the sangria. The service is so professional and friendly...it has become a favorite when we visit NY. And you can tell it's a place where locals go...not tourists in t-shirts and flip flops, not that it is ultra formal. Just NYC.
i've been here a number of times over the years. like all the other spanish places in the west village, it's just ok, nothing special, but fine as long as you're not expecting food on the level of your last trip to spain.
a female friend of mine really likes the atmosphere here, btw--she found it to be more of a rustically charming, couple-friendly setting than the other west village spanish places.
food-wise, i think la nacional on w. 14th btwn 7th/8th aves is the best of the traditional, old-school spanish restaurants in manhattan.
Started going to El Charro in the late 70's. Vidal at the time was the host, waiter, owner, etc. Spent 15 years in San Francisco, moved back to NYC, went to El Charro and nothing had changed, except that Vidal turned grey. Have not been in a few years but if you like lamb, the baby lamb alone is worth a visit. The lamb chops, mussels and chorizo are also outstanding.