Chef Seamus Mullen creates a seductive menu of plates of various sizes that recall his years in Spain, at this restaurant named after the famous market in Barcelona. Featuring a selection of tapas, raciones (entrée sized plates), media raciones (smaller plates), and “compartir” (shared plates), Boqueria understands that sometimes you don't just want to graze; you want a full-sized entree. At a reasonable $6 per plate, the tapas feature the usual standards (croquetas, patatas bravas, pimientos, tortilla española), plus terrific grilled lamb, salt cod fritters, and dates stuffed with almonds and cabrales, wrapped in bacon. Chef Mullen's best-known dishes include: Cochinillo Lechal (quartered roasted suckling pig in a sauce of Brandy and reduced apple cider), Huevo y Pisto (olive oil poached free-range hen’s egg on a seasonal vegetable pisto), Calcots (grilled spring onions in romesco, topped with melted Garrotxa cheese), and Salmorejo Cordobes (chunky gazpacho thickened with hard-boiled eggs and day old bread, served with avocado and crab meat florette).
For those with a heartier appetite, the raciones run from a great lamb shank to a fairly standard free-range chicken as well as a beautiful New York strip with a gorgeous array of grilled vegetables. And the prime rib for two served with a few tapas on the side—at a decidedly un-tapas price near $70—pays homage to the steak house, which along with such small-plates venues as Boqueria is king of Manhattan dining today. Clearly Boqueria has all the bases covered.
Lively bar scene, attracting an almost "downtown crowd" but, really, it is still the Upper East Side.
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