Cafe Ronda in UWS
We were excited to try this neighborhood spanish place, some people have said its good (not great). We may have had a bad night, but the food was so a huge disappointment.
The biggest travesty was the Gambas Ajillo; shrimp with garlic. This is a dish we frequently get at spanish restaurants and we always devour, and then sop up the sauce with bread. The shrimp themselves were low quality, mealy, overcooked and had no flavor. The sauce was very smoky, I mean like liquid smoke, had very little real garlic flavor and had an unnaturalness to it that was very disconcerting. We didn't finish it.
The house, or Ronda salad, was ridiculously overseasoned. Overseasoning to this extent is a totally rookie mistake. We took the lemon from the gambas (which were hopeless) and drizzled the juice onto the salad to cut through all the salt. We almost finished it, but I bet there was more salt in that salad than a large McD fries!
The calamari were decent. They were soft, and not too chewy, but their coating was very bready (like the coating of a mozz stick) and would have been good if I ordered them at a bar or something, but for a place that specializes in spanish food I expected more. They were also overseasoned.
Its a shame, there are a lot of nice items on the menu but after such a poor performance I feel that the place is literally hopeless.
I agree that Ronda leaves much to be desired. They own Cafe Frida and la Rural too. I really love Frida for the food, drinks and people. I haven't tried la Rural yet, but I heard it is a good steakhouse.
Ronda is an Argentinian restaurant, which I find to be a very hearty, well-seasoned cuisine combining a lot of Spanish, Italian and Latin flavors. Perhaps you were disappointed by expectation of something different. I haven't had the shrimp or salad, but happily return for the yucca, calamari, papas and am eager to try the parilla.