By Melissa Limberg
Tapas style dining is one of the most underrated experiences I have come across. The art of creating small dishes to share is truly an engaging way to enjoy a meal with friends. For those of you unfamiliar with this, I think it works best with a group of four. Typically you’d order 7 or so plates to all share. What’s nice about this is that it really centers your dining experience around the food. Normally, we go out to dinner to be with people and chat and whatnot, but you’re not eating the same things so the conversation really doesn’t focus on the reason you’re there – the food. Tapas style dining, with everyone sharing the same plates and trying it at the same time is a great way to really enjoy the culinary art. Here is a short list of three excellent tapas places that I think you should try right here in New York City.
Alta – 64 W. 10th St. – Greenwich Village
Alta is a sexy little restaurant hidden among the brownstones on the streets of Greenwich Village. Went with three other girls besides myself for a dinner and we sipped sangria and ordered several of the plates. First things first, they only accept CASH and AMEX. I think that’s insane but I’m informing you now so that you can go and not find out when the bill comes.
Each small plate is exceptional. Even the Brussels sprouts were something to write home about! The bacon wrapped olives and dates were mouth watering and the fried goat cheese with lavender infused honey made me want to cry it was so good. Every dish we tried we wanted more of. This is an excellent dinner-with-friends spot. Most plates come with about 4 of everything.
Stanton Social – 99 Stanton St. – Lower East Side
If the Stanton Social was a Spice Girl, it would totally be the Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice). I read someone described it as “discretely fancy” and all of the sudden I just nodded my head in accord. That’s a perfect way to describe this lower east side spot. The tapas portions are perfect and it is at the top of my list for great brunch spots. They have an inspired drink menu to pair with the already stellar dishes. Imagine a girls (or guys) brunch on a Sunday morning and you’ll want to imagine yourself here.
Savory choices reign supreme but I cannot allow you to overlook their sweet selection as well. Among the group of four girls we all went a little “bananas” over their banana pancakes in addition to the several other dishes we shared. Choices like goat cheese pirogues, red snapper tacos, and french onion soup dumplings give comfort classics an updated flare.
I recommend a reservation!
Traif – 229 S. 4th St. – Williamsburg
Yep, we’re going to talk about Williamsburg again right now. You know why? Because I overlooked it for so long, it’s just time it gets a little fanfare from me. Listen, I’m not telling you to go out and buy skinny jeans and tuck a colored bandana in your back pocket – I’m just telling you to enjoy all that this beautiful neighborhood has to offer. It offers up the most amazing tapas you could imagine.
Traif is tucked away on S 4th St in Williamsburg and it’s motto is “Celebrating pork, shellfish, and globally inspired food.” Judging on that description alone I would be more inclined to say, “Let’s choose a different place” instead of agreeing to go. I’m glad I wasn’t aware of that motto before I had my brunch here, though. This is another example of a very “current” menu being presented in a strategic, intentional way. I was impressed by the simplicity of thee dishes yet the complexity of the flavors. One of my favorite things we ordered there was a simple egg sandwich – but it was executed perfectly. The menu changes here by the month and season.