Savoring Certified Spanish Excellence: Rioja Wines in the Heart of New York City
In the bustling and diverse city of New York, finding authentic cuisine can be quite a challenge. But fear not, because there are restaurants right here in the city that are certified to deliver a truly Spanish dining experience. As Featured on Eater.com
Two outstanding options, Mercado Little Spain in Hudson Yards and Salinas in Chelsea, have earned this certification and are taking Spanish food and wine to new heights.
Mercado Little Spain, situated near the High Line in Hudson Yards, is a vibrant hub where tradition and quality meet to offer you an unforgettable taste of Spain. Their commitment to authenticity is evident in every dish, from the mouthwatering tortilla de patatas to the innovative takes on classic Spanish favorites. Take a bite of their meticulously crafted tortilla, with its caramelized onions, tender potatoes, and perfectly seasoned eggs. Each one is made with care, ensuring that you experience the true essence of this beloved Spanish dish. And don’t miss out on their croquetas, which boast a delicate golden-brown crust and a creamy chicken filling that’s simply heavenly. The gambas al ajillo, sizzling in fragrant olive oil with garlic and parsley, will transport your taste buds straight to Spain. And the churros, dipped in a luscious dark chocolate sauce made from authentic Spanish ingredients, are the perfect sweet ending to your meal. At Mercado Little Spain, the tapas culture thrives, making it an ideal place to share dishes and sip on refreshing Albariño from Rias Baixas or a delightful Rioja wine from Bodegas Montecillo, a historic winery dating back to 1870.
Salinas, located in the heart of Chelsea, takes a different approach to Spanish cuisine. Instead of simply replicating traditional dishes, they use them as a starting point for culinary innovation. The result is a unique and modern interpretation of Spanish flavors that challenges convention. The restaurant’s inviting atmosphere makes it perfect for a romantic date night or a special gathering with friends. At Salinas, sharing is caring, and the menu invites you to explore a world of flavors together. Executive Chef Luis Bollo and his team put a fresh spin on Spanish classics, incorporating global ingredients like sesame oil, gochujang, garum, and bottarga into their creations. For example, their setas al mojo reimagines champiñones al ajillo with shiitake mushrooms presented like ravioli and drizzled with goat cheese, cilantro mojo, and seaweed pumpkin butter. Their patatas bravas are a mouthwatering indulgence, with fried potatoes topped with whipped aioli, trout, black lumpfish caviar, and shaved bottarga, offering a symphony of rich, salty, and spicy flavors. The menu also features innovative dishes like ibérico pork belly with piquillo pepper gochujang and Galician seaweed with “Basque mole,” showcasing the limitless possibilities of modern Spanish cuisine.
Amanda Pangan Baró, the manager and wine buyer for Salinas, has curated a wine selection that pays homage to Spain’s rich winemaking heritage while also championing emerging producers who are redefining Spanish wine. You can enjoy wines like Prado Enea Grand Reserva from Bodegas Muga in Rioja, with its notes of smoke, cedar, chocolate, and blackberries, representing the elegance of traditional Spanish winemaking. At the same time, Salinas shines a spotlight on newer winemakers who are pushing the boundaries and reshaping the Spanish wine landscape.
So, if you’re in search of an authentic Spanish culinary adventure right here in New York City, look no further than Mercado Little Spain and Salinas. These exceptional establishments bring the vibrant flavors of Spain to the heart of the Big Apple, offering a delectable fusion of tradition and innovation. And as you savor your meal, don’t forget to explore the world of Rioja wines that perfectly complement the exquisite Spanish cuisine.