Socarrat - the best paella out there.
Ok, I might be exaggerating, but probably just a bit. Having had the dish from a bunch of the city's Spanish places, the paella that we had at Socarrat last night is simply the best. By the way, I refer to the Paella Socarrat.
The rice had excellent texture, with perfect chewiness, not mushy, not watery, and quite on the al dente side, with each grain offering layers of flavor brought on by the prawns, mussels, cuttlefish, chicken and clams. The crust, or socarrat, is like icing on a cake.
For paella-seekers out there, Socarrat is a must destination.
We also had a very good calamar a la plancha (grilled squid) with a terrific garlic-based dressing that you'd almost want to scoop up with a spoon; while the succulent chuletitas (lamb chops) with parsley sauce proved to be satisfying accompaniments.
Yes, there's just the long communal table that extends to the 6-seat bar. BTW, in case you are particular about the seats, there were no backrests on any of them.
We got there at around 6:45 pm Friday and were promptly seated. At around 7:30ish there were a small group of people lined-up by the door.
Another fyi - BYOB only.
Thanks for the write-up, RCC. The paella does sound terrific. I've been intrigued by what I hear of Socarrat... but I hadn't heard that the only seating is backless stools. This makes no sense to me at all, and it's actually one of the reasons that I didn't bother sprinting over to Momofuku Ko when it opened. I, personally, could sit on a backless stool for a meal if I had to, but a lot of people cannot. What's up with this disturbing trend?!
it's a bad trend...more table-turning at the expense of comfort...add deafening lousy music and then you're on the second level of restaurant hell before the first bite...
who wants to rush their paella-eating because of uncomfortable seating?...a poor combo of cuisine/chair...nonetheless the paella sounds very yummy...
I had the one with noodles and found it good, but the ratio of fish to noodles was disappointing, not enough stuff in it.
Sorry for the delay in posting - but I couldn't find the receipt.
There were three of us, and we had:
Croquetas - they were mushroom - quite good, but not as good as those at Boqueria
Tocino Con Datiles - braised pork belly, roasted potatoes, dates puree -also had some apple slices, which were refreshing - delicious, but just two small pieces of pork belly
Ensalada De Remolacha - roasted red & golden beets, yellow peppers, candied pine nuts, manchego vinaigrette, coca crouton - excellent
Chuletitas De Cordero - new zealand lamb chop, roasted baby red potato - two thin lamb chops - enjoyed them, though they could have been slightly less well done for my liking, they were still tender and juicy.
Alcachofas Fritas - fried artichokes - my favorite, I think - nice and crispy
For our main course, we had the Arroz Negro (squid ink, cuttle fish, shrimp, fish) for three. It also had clams and favas - was a beautiful dish, particularly the contrast between the black rice and the pink shrimp/green favas. Some socarrat on the the bottom and we ate the whole thing. I do concur with the poster who said there could have been more seafood. We ordered this dish for three, but I'm pretty sure that we got the same portion size as the paella for two that the people next to us had, which also looked like it had more seafood on it. While the entire bill was about $140, which seemed reasonable for the delicious and filling meal, when I think that the Arroz Negro was $63 for rice, maybe 5 - 6 shrimp, a small sprinkling of clams and some small pieces of squid and fish, that dish then seems expensive.
We had two desserts - the crema catalan, which was delicious and had a nice lemon flavor to it, and the flourless chocolate cake which was leaden. Both were on the small side, but we weren't particularly hungry at that point anyway.
Service was gracious and friendly, I love the look of the room, and there were crowds of people waiting on the sidewalk by about 8 pm when we left.
I'd definitely go back, but in retrospect, I do wonder a bit about the pricing of particular items even though the bill overall was reasonable. I might feel differently if had included all the wine we drank!