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
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).