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.
Went to Socarrat the other night and had a wonderful meal. Only problem is trying to limit the tapas to have room for the Paella! For tapas, had the Croquetas, Jamon Iberico, Fried Artichokes and the Chorizo. All were delicious but the Artichokes really impressed. Very similar to what I had in Barcelona - very lightly fried, so they were light, crispy, and not too oily. Had the Paella Socarrat which was also very delicious. The seafood was very fresh and the rice cooked to perfection and quite flavorful. We didnt notice the seats, and we did not mind the half hour wait either. Still BYO!
Went last night with two friends. We tried the Paella de Carne for two, and the Paella De Pescado for two. As far as paella goes, it was excellent - very flavorful and fillling (granted 3 of us ordered food for 4, but did not get any apps or dessert). One of my friends is from spain, and is a tough critic re: paella, and he said it was top notch.
The one gripe was the service. We showed up around 9 and waited for a seat - which took about 30 minutes, but that was in line with that they told us. Then, it took another 15-20 before we got menus and our order was taken - we had to flag down one of the passing waiters fairly aggressively. Then, it also took a good amount of time to get the food, was told 20 minutes - since all paella is cook to order - was more like 35-40.
Hope they work out the kinks in the service, cause the paella really was excellent. Didnt have a problem with the seats, as mentioned in earlier posts...
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!
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...
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.