El Charro Espanol - decent tapas, terrible service
I went to El Charro Espanol with a large group of 12 people before a Cut Copy concert. It's in the west village on charles and greenwich st. The interior is very old school looking inside, white table clothes, sort of staid vibe. The waiters are all in white shirts and black pants, again very old school feel.
The waiter had a bad attitude, giving us grief about everything and making a big deal that were paying with more than one credit card...just generally made the meal unpleasant, im not sure what his deal was.
Here's what we got:
- camarones ajillo (garlic shrimp): these were very good, shrimps in a bath of oil, garlic and chilis. The shrimps tasted fresh and tasted great with the combo of the previously mentioned ingredients.
- tortilla espanola (spanish omelet): this was excellent, I liked this. It was delicious with the egg and potato. It's a very simple dish done well
- calamares fritos (fried calamari): this was just ok. The calamari itself was fine, the batter was a bit too soggy for me. The tomato sauce was weird tasting and I didn't like it
- chorizo (sausage): pretty decent, simply pan grilled chorizo...sort of hard to mess up
- paella a la valenciana: this was paella with chicken, chorizo, shrimp, clams & scallops cooked with saffron & vegetables. I thought it was pretty mediocre, the ingredients tasted just ok and the paella itself was sort of plain in flavor.
Overall, the place had some hits and misses and the service was just really rude. I'd go to other good tapas places in the city over this place.
I've eaten at El Charro several time, and never, ever had anything short of lovely service. I can't imagine it there. The atmosphere is "old school" I guess..it looks like a restaurant you would find in Madrid or Barcelona...but I enjoy that. The sangria is first rate, love the shrimps in olive oil, and the paella Valenciana. We had an avocado salad that was just perfect...simple and delicious. It is clearly a local place...not a restaurant that attracts trouists, or seems to want to. They do what they do, but the servers have always been friendly and professsional...it's a favorite of mine.