216 East 53rd Street, 212-644-1166
With restaurants of every culinary persuasion embracing the small-plate trend, tapas are hot again, and so are the Spanish restaurants that serve them: Bolo, where Bobby Flay’s succumbed to tapas temptation by fancifully cooking quail eggs on artichoke hearts dotted with salmon caviar; Suba, where Luis Bollo’s sobrasada-slicked toast fuels a raucous bar crowd; and Allioli, whose Serrano-ham-wrapped dates rate high on Williamsburg’s food chain. Solera, though, is and always has been so serious about tapas and the culture surrounding them that the entire cozy, commodious front room is devoted to their continuous consumption from noon to closing. Daily specials appear on the bar but not on the extensive and varied menu, so peruse the display and then let the well-versed bartender suggest a sherry to match (he’s partial to manzanillas). Each bite bursts with flavor, from springy asparagus-studded tortilla and hot piquillo peppers stuffed with minced chicken and lentils to salty cured tuna rolled around fresh goat cheese, and boquerones marinated to vinegary perfection. The list goes on—and, as tapas tradition dictates, so should you..
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
Where can you find the city’s top dog groomer? Last-minute tailor? Beef tongue? We eat, drink, dance, shop, shvitz, and trampoline our way around the city, not to mention poll scores of in-the-know colleagues, hard-partying friends, opinionated family members, and, this year, a team of guest expert bloggers to bring you answers to all of the above questions, and hundreds more, in the form of our annual “Best of New York” issue.