Like a true tapas bar, don’t wait to be seated at Boquería. Come in, sit down and the wait staff will assist you promptly. Executive Chef Marc Vidal’s menu offers an enticing array of traditional Spanish dishes and many others inspired by his native Cataluña. A word of caution to New York’s infamous late diners; while Boquería is open until midnight, the kitchen stops preparing hot food at 10:30 PM and by 11 PM the restaurant begins to feel desolate and radically opposite to an hour prior. I dined at 10 PM on a lively Monday night and the restaurant was packed. After asking our waitress for her thoughts on the menu she suggested the Dátiles con Beicon, the Bombas de Barceloneta and the Pintxos Morunos. We decided to go with the first two and also try the Patatas Bravas.
Although the dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeon, wrapped in bacon sounded like the perfect combination of sweet and salty, I was less than pleased. A very rich and creamy texture paired with a strong tug of war between the date’s sweetness and the Valdeon’s potent blue-cheesiness had me feeling thankful for the less than generous portion of three bacon wrapped dates as I was trying to pawn of the third one on my actual date.
The patatas bravas came in piping hot and smelling absolutely heavenly. Almost all reviews suggest trying this typical Spanish tapa and the table next to us had ordered it as well, so we went for it and I do not regret this dish at all. A small plate of crispy spicy potato cubes was beyond palate satisfying. Served with alioli—a garlicky mayonnaise—and salsa brava—a spicy tomato sauce—the rich and bold complimentary flavors had me wishing I had ordered two plates. These patatas bravas exceeded my expectations and were by far the gastronomical highlight of the evening.
About ten minutes after the patatas and the dátiles came out the Bombas de la Barcelonata came out. These two beef and potato croquettes were delicately topped with salsa brava and garlic alioli. These croquettes were picture perfect and while the ground beef left me feeling a little cheated they were still quite tasty.
As with any Spanish restaurant, one must always try the sangria. Boquería offers the choice between red, white and rosé. I found the rosé sangria to compliment the tapas perfectly that night and the addition of grapes to a generally apple and orange heavy drink made for an exciting treat.
I recommend Boquería to anyone seeking a slightly different restaurant experience. However, I would not recommend coming to Boquería for dinner as the rations are small but the prices are not. For a few dollars more than the tapa prices, bocata lunch is served until 3PM and includes patatas bravas as well as mixed greens.