1930 Review of El Chico by Rian James

The Best Damn Caballero in All Greenwich Village!

Suave, swarthy waiters in tight red coats; the nimble tapping of vivacious, tiny heels; the staccato clack of rhythmic castanets; the tinkle of guitars!

Downtown you go, to the very heart of Greenwich Village and lo and behold, you’re in the heart of Sunny Spain! There is nothing synthetic about the Spain they picture for you down at Chico’s, nothing of the Broadway musical comedy or the interior decorator’s delight! Chico’s is Spain transplanted to the Village.

And when you’re fed up on steaks and turkey wings and potatoes O’Brien, then Chico’s is the place for you.  What if the pale blue fleece-studded sky under which you loll is a trifle imaginative? Is not the Arroz (pronounced Arroth) con Polio savory to the last grain of tender yellow rice? For Chico’s, with all its marvelous murals by Usabal; its photographs of bull-fighters, and its warm, sunny atmosphere, is essentially a placeto come and eat. Here, while you watch a glint-eyed, five-foot Spanish whirlwind toss her pretty head to the rhythmic jangle of a tambourine, a straight-backed, red- coated young Spaniard arranges your fare with a grace that is almost a rite.

Arroz con Polio the tenderest of chicken, done to a burnished brown, with yellow rice forming little hillocks under the tastiest of native gravies! A meal, and what a meal. Or, if you’re not so hungry, Huevos Malaguena eggs, sunny-side up, Spanish style, served in a little casserole dish, with a Spanish pepper sauce you’ll never forget. And for dessert Cascos de Guayba con Queso Crema, Guava, with cream cheese, Flan de Huevo (we warn you, this is perilously like the caramel custard you’d turn your nose up at, in a tea room) , and a beaker of sparkling, fruity, imported Spanish Cider! Nor have we so much as begun.

At Chico’s, the Calmares en su Tinta Spanish squids with dark sauce and rice are perfection; the Arroz con Mariscos yellow rice, with small, unforgettable shell-fish are delights.

And while you linger over your dinner, a Spanish orchestra plays swinging tunes of old Madrid. The alert Francisco Padro will show you the guitar personally inscribed to Senor Collada by the inimitable Raquel Meller, herself; Senor Herera will sing rollicking love chants of old Seville; and Senorita Guanita De Sol, or Senor Usabal, the artist, or the sad-eyed, far-famed La Argentina, the danseuse, picking daintily at her Pasta Guayaba, will toss you a warm, Spanish smile.

El Chico’s is now located at 80 Grove Street. You reach it via the West Side subway, getting off at the Sheridan Square Station. And heaven help you if you don’t remember to change from the express at 14th Street.

Chico’s Spanish

80 Grove Street

Table d’hote dinner, $2.00

Open for dinner and after-theater supper

Cover charge, after 9 P. M., weekdays, $.75; Saturdays,

Sundays and Holidays, $1.00

Maitre d’hotel: Francisco





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