food critic review: perfect paella at Socarrat

Have you all heard about the great news? I am talking, of course, about my new food critic review! That’s right, I’m back, and this time I would like to share with you an experience I recently had at an excellent Spanish restaurant:
Socarrat Paella bar
259 W. 19th St.
Food: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 2 out of 5 stars
Service: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Do you like dining at a restaurant with communal seating, uncomfortable stools, and no reservations? In that case, Socarrat is right for you. I figured I would speak about the negatives first, so that I could spend more time discussing the incredible food. As the name indicates, this restaurant specializes in paella. Socarrat serves paella for two or more people only, so I would recommend that you go there with at least one other friend.
My friends and I tried some “tapas”, which are Spanish appetizers: tortilla, which is a delicious and fluffy Spanish omelet, and croquetas del dia, which are flavorful oval-shaped croquettes filled with chicken. These appetizers were tasty but light enough so that they did not spoil my appetite. We then tried the Paella Socarrat: chunks of chicken, fish, beef, shrimp, green beans, mussels, and cockle clams. Before I describe the delicious paella, allow me to define the name of this restaurant, Socarrat: From the Spanish verb socarrar, which means to toast lightly. Socarrat refers to the caramelized crust of rice that sometimes sticks to the bottom of the pan when you are making paella. I found the paella to be unique, and I use this in the most extreme form of this adjective: crispy saffron rice, chunks of boneless meat, and a mixture of subtle seasonings that pleased my pallet. It was definitely one of the BEST paellas that I have ever consumed in my life, and I have eaten quite many.
I will honestly admit that I am a very picky eater. Many things will turn me off from eating a particular food: consistency, texture, flavor, spice, and temperature are all examples. My quest for the perfect paella has allowed me to sample this treat in many different areas, although I am biased towards a local favorite. With all of this being said, I believe that Socarrat paella bar makes one of the most scrumptious paellas that I have ever tasted! However, let me reiterate what I said in the beginning of this review: when you eat there, you sit next to other customers on a long communal table, you will be sitting on a stool for the entire meal, it takes 30 minutes for them to cook the paella, and they do not except reservations. I appreciate that these aspects do take away from the overall experience, and I would understand if they scared any of you off from going to this restaurant. Nevertheless, I was so impressed by the food that I would gladly go back to Socarrat in the future and I hope you all try it out too!
Dan (the food critic) man

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