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Best Paella

Bolo
23 East 22nd Street; 228-2200

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For years, Bobby Flay has been bending our minds with glorious Technicolor preparations as vivid and explosive as Peter Max illustrations (witness, say, his roasted venison in cranberry-cinnamon sauce served with a pumpkin tamale at Mesa Grill). But the magic of his paella at Bolo is its balance and restraint. “People usually overcook paella,” says the Manhattan-born chef. “It’s all about timing.” In his basic seafood-and-chicken rendition ($28), Flay mixes in a lemon-and-garlic aïoli, which gives the dish a surprising lightness. The silver-dollar-size scallops, plump shrimp, and wedges of chorizo give it depth. And Flay being Flay, there is color as well, a pleasing burst of saffron yellow rising like lava from the clay pot. “The idea,” says Flay, “is to hit on all senses in one dish.”


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