- Socarrat Paella Bar
259 W. 19th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-462-1000
As any self-respecting paella loon will tell you, “socarrat” is the crackly bed of rice that resides on the bottom of a hot paella pan. What chef Felipe Camarillo will also tell you is that this elegant little cubby hole of a restaurant, in Chelsea, has been designed to replicate a genial, sometimes raucous Sunday dinner in Valencia, complete with a small, twenty-seat communal table and great, piping-hot salvers of paella de carne and seafood-rich arroz negro being hoisted to and fro. There are five traditional paellas on the menu, each one fresher and more authentic than you’ll find anywhere in this paella-starved town. If you have to choose one, try the paella de carne, made with chunks of pork, duck, chicken, and chorizo mingled in piles of crackling rice, which gets crisper and more crackly as you excavate with your spoon. The little joint takes no reservations, so get there early, or you’ll find yourself milling around on the sidewalk, with the rest of the paella loons.
From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).