restaurants
El Porron
1123 First Avenue
212 207 8349

Tapas often seems like just a reason to drink. Sangria for your super salty olives? Not here. Comfort food for food's sake is what it's about at this spot just under the bridge and across from Bed, Bath. The menu at El Porron has cold tapas, then hot, entrees (such as grilled fish and roasted chicken) and several paellas, Spanish wines and sangrias, and it's a little tempting to order it all. But some dishes are worth it and others bog standard. Our favourites (from family- run affair of El Cid's Gonozalo "Mr. G" Bermeoof, sons Diego and Mario) are grilled tiger shrimp (gambas a la plancha with sweetly charred shells), succulent garlic shrimp (gambas al ajillo); delightful little veal meatballs (albondigas de ternera), and a lovely soupy vegetable paella. While the staff love them; we'd pass on the pulpo (too chewy) and the sardines (too skimpy and salty). Go with what we like and match them to Spanish wines that can be hard to find elsewhere. Txakolina, a Basque favourite, is not quite sparkling, and while many spots offer just one sparkling by the glass, this spot stands out for having five. There's three varieties of albarino in addition to the usual tempranillo or garnacha possibilities, making great flight pairings. A decidely Spanish dessert menu includes flan de mocca (made with Colombian coffee); and Torrejas (strips of French toast soaked in Rioja and caramelised). During the day it's shoppers recovering; at night, lots of junior Wall Streeters. Not sceney but pleasant, and while it won't knock your socks off, it's a great addition to the neighbourhood.

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15 East
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