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How's the paella at Soccarat?

edwardspk Mar 12, 2011 03:18 PM

Heading there for dinner tomorrow night and can't find any recent posts about the food. And what I CAN find from 2010 is scary! Is my dinner a disaster waiting to happen, or is the paella good like I remember from it's opening days?

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  1. coasts RE: edwardspk Mar 12, 2011 03:23 PM

    i haven't been in a while, but i don't ever remember having a bad meal there. good luck and please report back. are you going to the Chelsea spot or the new one?

    1 Reply
    1. re: coasts
      edwardspk RE: coasts Mar 12, 2011 04:52 PM

      Will be eating in Chelsea and will be sure to provide a follow-up post.

    2. m
      michelleats RE: edwardspk Mar 12, 2011 07:27 PM

      I ate there in 2010, so it's probably not as recent as you'd like. The paella is fine for Manhattan, but not good by global standards. There's not much crust development and it's clear that a lot of the rice cooking takes place without strong flavor influences. "Toppings" are added close to finish or perhaps after. On the other hand, I haven't personally had better paella in Manhattan, so perhaps this'll do it for ya.

      Obviously this is not a ringing endorsement, but it could be enjoyable.

      1. c
        City Kid RE: edwardspk Mar 13, 2011 08:17 AM

        I ate there a couple of months ago and enjoyed what I had at the time, but it was exceptionally salty, leaving me thirsty all night. The one long table with high stools make it more a quick meal place than one to relax and dine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: City Kid
          Bkeats RE: City Kid Mar 13, 2011 01:31 PM

          For NYC standards, I think its about as good as you can get. If there are at least 4 in your group, you can order it in the room on the left otherwise you can only have tapas. The long communal table is not the best place to relax.

        2. s
          sushiman RE: edwardspk Mar 13, 2011 05:11 PM

          Inconsistent. The new chef at Boqueria SOHO is doing a very good one. YOu have to specift soccarat, most AMericans think that if is burned if it comes out that way.

          171 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

          1 Reply
          1. re: sushiman
            gutsofsteel RE: sushiman Mar 13, 2011 06:22 PM

            When I ate paella at Soccarat...there was no socarrat!

          2. e
            edwardspk RE: edwardspk Mar 13, 2011 06:42 PM

            Ok, so I've now been back. First, the good: the service was very friendly and attentive. Our tapas (the patatas bravas, croquetas and pan tomate) were all very good, as well as the red sangria. If the meal had stopped there, we would have been happy.

            Now the bad: we had the "highly recommended special" paella of lobster, shrimp, fish, squid, etc. What we got was overly salted rice topped with unseasoned and half raw seafood. If this is the best paella at a restaurant in Manhattan, my advice is to either make paella at home or wait until you're in Spain to eat it.

            This is awful paella.

            259 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

            1 Reply
            1. re: edwardspk
              gutsofsteel RE: edwardspk Mar 13, 2011 06:56 PM

              Agreed. I went back exactly once and I don't plan to return.

            2. thew RE: edwardspk Jun 19, 2011 11:50 AM

              just ate at the nolita branch.

              it was salty - but i only know that because of the amount of water i drank once i got home, it was not unpleasant tasting at all. in fact the paella (paella de carne) was delicious - good bite to the rice, not mushy or overcooked. decent socarrat on the bottom - id say about 85-90% of the bottom had a good crust.

              delicious bottle of wine from galicia, a lovely scallop carpaccio, so nice fried artechoke, and a chorizo croquetta all made for a good meal

              284 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

              1 Reply
              1. re: thew
                koko85 RE: thew Jun 19, 2011 03:29 PM

                I have eaten at both Soccarat branches and while they are decent and at times uneven i have always loved every meal i have gotten at El Faro...the paella does not have the crust that many of you are looking for but nonetheless i find it still great...check it out if you are ever in the West Village area...


                El Faro
                823 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10014

              2. a
                AlexH1980 RE: edwardspk Aug 6, 2011 05:46 AM

                The paella isn't as good as the one I can make at home. I am very disappointed. I go to Valencia a lot and people in New York say that this is the place to eat paella. Well, they obviously have not really had the real thing in Spain. While Soccarat's is made in a real paella pan (well, sort of), and looks more authentic than the over-the-top risotto-style stuff they serve in America under the name "paella", it's too salty and the rice grains on top were undercooked while the bottom ones were not that burnt to form a decent crust. Quite unpleasant to eat, really. Paella in Valencia is often very very salty but it's oily/moist as well, this one was just dry. The waitress was very nice. The place was too loud (Mulberry St. location), you had to shout to make conversation. I would not go back.

                6 Replies
                1. re: AlexH1980
                  michelleats RE: AlexH1980 Aug 6, 2011 06:03 PM

                  I think that's a fair assessment of Soccarat and NYC's paella scene.

                  Btw, if you are on the prowl for a good restaurant version, the best soccarat crust I've had in NYC to date has actually been at Danji, a modern Korean restaurant in midtown. The texture of the rice is perfect and the flavors are very nicely incorporated. There are Korean influences, of course, but it captures the spirit of paella far better than the Spanish restaurants I've tried in Manhattan.

                  346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                  1. re: michelleats
                    coasts RE: michelleats Aug 7, 2011 04:02 AM

                    michelle, is the "paella" at Danji different from the fried rice served after samgyupsal at Korean barbecues - that they cook on the pan that the meat had been cooked on? looks similar and the fact that they call it "bacon"...is that just pork belly?

                    346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                    1. re: coasts
                      uwsister RE: coasts Aug 7, 2011 12:11 PM

                      It's a good version of kimchi fried rice.

                      1. re: coasts
                        michelleats RE: coasts Aug 8, 2011 10:38 AM

                        It's pretty different, I think. The rice in Danji's "paella" was so deeply flavorful that I'm guessing it was cooked from a raw state in a liquid that included paella ingredients. The crust was similar to the rice you have after samgyupsal, though.

                        IIRC, the bacon was cured pork belly -- i.e. what Americans call "bacon".

                        346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                    2. re: AlexH1980
                      sushiman RE: AlexH1980 Aug 8, 2011 06:33 AM

                      Correct. I have been going to Spain annually since 1985 and it always amazed me that no one can replicate a good paella in NYC.

                      1. re: sushiman
                        Toot RE: sushiman Aug 8, 2011 07:12 AM

                        Try La Nacional on 14th Street. It is a quite good paella, and pretty similar to the ones I had in Valencia.

                        La Nacional
                        239 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

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