Tapas in Murray Hill?
I live and work in the gastronomically-challenged Murray Hill.
Can anyone recommend a great tapas/cocktail place in the area?
Basically anywhere between 23rd and 34th, east side.
Pamplona, on 28th, b/t PAS & Madison, immediately comes to mind. I love Chef/owner Alex Urena's Basque-inspired cuisine and have enjoyed many of the items on the tapas menu. I don't drink, so I can't give you any opinions with regard to cocktails there.
At the new Bar Milano, on the corner of 3rd & 24th, I've read that there's a bartender there who is famous for his inventive cocktails, and people are raving about them. Antipasti could sub for tapas. The website is still under construction, but you can view the menu on menupages.com
I was there for brunch on Sunday and we were the only people there until our main courses arrived. On one hand, it was great because we got one of those booth tables to ourselves. But a restaurant can't survive with that type of business.
We ordered the burger, churros and the huevo pamplona. The burger was indeed very tasty -- a bit stringy, but I'm sure that's from the suckling pig. The huevo pamplona was good -- Urena's take on eggs benedict, but I wasn't too fond of their hollandaise sauce. I don't know if it was in my imagination, but it tasted like there was American cheese in that sauce. And the churros were piping hot and delicious, and the chocolate sauce was quite rich. My favorite churros are still from La Boqueria, but Pamplona was still great. We also shared the snails tapas which was prepared very well. We know Urena was preparing it as he was sitting at the bar when we walked in. Usually you get the B team for Sunday brunch. But when you're probably doing less than 10 covers for brunch, you probably can't afford to hire a cook for that.
I've read some server issues people have had here, but we had great service. Of course, the service should be great if you're the only people eating there.
I just didn't understand why it wasn't more busy. Is it the location? Is Urena not hooked up with the right PR people? It's sad that you see these generic mediocre restaurants with people clamoring to get into them while a restaurant like Urena remains empty.