Jump to content
DonRocks

Boqueria, New York Tapas Chain in South Dupont in the old Penang Space

Recommended Posts

Boy, I'm happy. At around the same time I got a brand new Rasika branch, and a new tapas place that rivals Jaleo, both right near my office. Bad news for the wallet and waistline...good news for the palate!

To be fair, it's been a while since I've had a great meal at Jaleo, so I can't honestly say Boqueria is better than Jaleo ever was, but it's certainly better than the last few meals I've had there.

It's also significantly better than Guardado's, which I liked a lot when I tried it a few weeks ago. Timing is everything.

I've had good luck with the daily dinner special tapas, including an outstanding parsnip/orange concoction that was my favorite dish so far. The tapas from the normal menu, including a Gambas al Ajillo with lots of dippable garlic oil, the Patatas Bravas, and Albóndigas (juicy lamb meatballs), are all excellent.

The only disappointments so far have been an overly tame Pimientos de Padrón and the much smaller lunch menu...the great selection of meats and cheeses available for dinner are paired down to a few "chef choice" combos for lunch.

On the other hand, lunch service (especially at the bar) has been excellent, dinner service varies between overattentive and invisible.

There's a big haunch of high end Iberico Ham sitting at the bar, which goes for $34 an ounce I believe, that's on my list for my next dinner there. I wonder what the minimum purchase is...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I was going to say, I hope they're a whole lot better than Jaleo is right now. I haven't had a good meal there since 2004. A better question would be whether it's in the same league as Estadio.....

This menu looks very promising, definitely worth a look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I was going to say, I hope they're a whole lot better than Jaleo is right now. I haven't had a good meal there since 2004. A better question would be whether it's in the same league as Estadio.....

This menu looks very promising, definitely worth a look.

Sorry, haven't eaten at Estadio...can't compare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a big haunch of high end Iberico Ham sitting at the bar, which goes for $34 an ounce I believe, that's on my list for my next dinner there. I wonder what the minimum purchase is...

That seems pretty expensive...this place sells it by the 1/4 lb. for $30...obviously, not in a restaurant setting, pre-sliced. And at Pata Negra here in New York, they do a 3-ham tasting for $35...

Yeah, I was going to say, I hope they're a whole lot better than Jaleo is right now. I haven't had a good meal there since 2004. A better question would be whether it's in the same league as Estadio.....

Yeah, who knows? Maybe they even have a wait list for the bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, who knows? Maybe they even have a wait list for the bar.

And...they don't. Have a wait list for the bar, that is. Tried to get in last night and while there were plenty of empty tables (that had evidently been reserved), the bar was full. And they don't do a waiting list. Which is why we walked right out and headed to Vidalia.

Interestingly enough, on Wednesday night I met 2 friends at Maialino in New York. There was only 1 seat at the bar and the first thing the bartender asked me was if I'd like to put my name on a waiting list. To me, that's the right way to do things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've attempted to write something about my meal here last Friday a few times, but keep getting interrupted and haven't been able to post!

The long and the short of it:

  • We arrived for lunch at 1:45pm. It was fairly empty so anyone who likes a late lunch this is a great option. They went beyond the norm in accommodating my allergies. Very pleasant interactions from over the phone, to the wait stand, to the servers. +++
  • I was thrilled* to be able to eat something "on" the menu, unadulterated. The hangar steak salad was delicious. A significant piece of meat prepared med. rare, as ordered, with a very nice beef flavor. Buttlermilk/blue cheese dressing, I believe, but my memory could be wrong on the exact specifics of the dressing...I was just over the moon to not have to use fresh lemon instead of a real dressing :rolleyes:
  • The blistered Shishito peppers with sea salt were like crack. Very addictive.
  • I had a rosé Sangria that was quite good. Not too sweet, but nice and fruity.
  • Barbara will have to comment on her fennel salad as I was unable to sample it.
  • We were both too full for dessert, but there were some items on the menu that defintiely appealed!

I would definitely return.

* for those of you who know my many allergies, I thought for certain I may not even be able to eat here. When I tried Jaleo (group was going) my meal was limited to basically ham and bread. So to not only be able to eat here but to sample items without alteration is an absolute phenomenal feat in my book!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've attempted to write something about my meal here last Friday a few times, but keep getting interrupted and haven't been able to post!

The long and the short of it:

  • We arrived for lunch at 1:45pm. It was fairly empty so anyone who likes a late lunch this is a great option. They went beyond the norm in accommodating my allergies. Very pleasant interactions from over the phone, to the wait stand, to the servers. +++
  • I was thrilled* to be able to eat something "on" the menu, unadulterated. The hangar steak salad was delicious. A significant piece of meat prepared med. rare, as ordered, with a very nice beef flavor. Buttlermilk/blue cheese dressing, I believe, but my memory could be wrong on the exact specifics of the dressing...I was just over the moon to not have to use fresh lemon instead of a real dressing :rolleyes:
  • The blistered Shishito peppers with sea salt were like crack. Very addictive.
  • I had a rosé Sangria that was quite good. Not too sweet, but nice and fruity.
  • Barbara will have to comment on her fennel salad as I was unable to sample it.
  • We were both too full for dessert, but there were some items on the menu that defintiely appealed!

I would definitely return.

* for those of you who know my many allergies, I thought for certain I may not even be able to eat here. When I tried Jaleo (group was going) my meal was limited to basically ham and bread. So to not only be able to eat here but to sample items without alteration is an absolute phenomenal feat in my book!

Squids forgot to mention the Patatas Bravas. These were incredibly good and light years better than what I had, once, at Jaleo. They came with two different little bowls of aioli (which she couldn't try) and a spicy tomato sauce. The shrimp with fennel was a very nice light lunch meal. It was very similiar to the orange/fennel salad I make at home, except that it had some very good marinated shrimp on top. I had a bite of Squids' steak and thought it was just delicious.

We over-ordered on the food; but, that was because we wanted to try so many things. I expect this will be a place we revisit fairly often. I would highly recommend this place for an HH get-together. Decent wine by the glass and a couple orders of those peppers and the potatoes would be enough for a crowd to nibble on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Squids forgot to mention the Patatas Bravas. These were incredibly good and light years better than what I had, once, at Jaleo. They came with two different little bowls of aioli (which she couldn't try) and a spicy tomato sauce. The shrimp with fennel was a very nice light lunch meal. It was very similiar to the orange/fennel salad I make at home, except that it had some very good marinated shrimp on top. I had a bite of Squids' steak and thought it was just delicious.

We over-ordered on the food; but, that was because we wanted to try so many things. I expect this will be a place we revisit fairly often. I would highly recommend this place for an HH get-together. Decent wine by the glass and a couple orders of those peppers and the potatoes would be enough for a crowd to nibble on.

Yes the Patatas Bravas were fantastic as well--can't believe I forgot about those! (but i did warn you about my memory lapses!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes the Patatas Bravas were fantastic as well--can't believe I forgot about those! (but i did warn you about my memory lapses!)

Well, I did notice that you said we went on Friday, instead of Thursday. Cue the music and sing along with me: "Ah, Yes!, I remember it well . . . " Ain't nothin' to do but embrace your nascent inner Geezer. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stuck my nose in here today after being relatively unaware it had opened where Penang had been. Now having read the thread, I'm wondering how people have found it rates relative to Estadio? When I went in and looked at a couple of menus late afternoon, that was the comparison that seemed most relevant to me. Will give this a try next week. Not sure ironic is the word but at least mildly intriguing a Spanish restaurant now sits atop a Mexican fast food joint.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now having read the thread, I'm wondering how people have found it rates relative to Estadio?

We had lunch here today, and I liked it. I'm hesitant to compare with Estadio, because I've only had one lunch here and dinner at Estadio, and as a result enjoyed cocktails at Estadio that I enjoyed very much.

All of the tapas that we had were worthwhile. The highlights for me were the sauteed mushrooms with manchego and thyme, and the lamb meatballs. We also tried some of the croquettes, and enjoyed them, as well as the salt cod fritters, which were perhaps a bit mild for my taste and were a bit overpowered by the citrus aioli. The shishito peppers, as somebody said above, are easily addictive.

The place was jammed at lunch but service was smooth, and (very happily) they seem to have done a good job with sound reduction, so we could talk at a normal volume with minimal issues. We'll definitely return--the bar looks inviting (and I bet will eventually be very crowded, if it isn't already).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had lunch here today, and I liked it. I'm hesitant to compare with Estadio, because I've only had one lunch here and dinner at Estadio, and as a result enjoyed cocktails at Estadio that I enjoyed very much.

I'm glad Boqueria is getting good early returns, but I can guarantee that they've got their work cut out for them if they want to have a better beverage program than Estadio. I don't see it as even in the realm of possibility. Between Mark, Sebastian, Max, Adam, Sarah (?), the multi-taltented Mick, Justin, and various others, Estadio - wisely - has the beverage program (fully 1/2 of the bill, with everything transferable from restaurant-to-restaurant) down pat. Mark knows what he's doing, that's for sure. When are we going to meet for some vino, almighty Lord of Penn Quarter?

I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by what I'm hearing about Boqueria, but they're smidgens and scattershots by people I trust, but haven't dined with personally. Still, I'm getting more optimistic than neutral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm at your disposal for a glass of vino....oh Lord of drunken 4AM posts. it is awkward for me to post about Estadio's beverage program on Boqueria's thread - I wish them nothing but the best - but I would be remiss if I did not supplement Don's much appreciated compliment with a clarification. Our wine program - 450 Spanish selections and ever growing - is the best selection of Spanish wines I have seen in the United states, save Casa Mono's glorious list. My darling Sebastian put together a strong opening list, but abdicated control of it to my son Max a few months after we opened. Max has not only done a sensational job expanding it, but he also runs the phenomenal beer, sherry, cider and Madeira lists - and is a fountain of knowledge on the floor for inquiring guests. I am extraordinarily proud of his efforts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other than a pretty pedestrian glass of sangria at the bar on Monday night (isn't all sangria in restaurants pretty crappy these days!?) and a hostess that was clearly clueless, I have to say that my first visit to Boqueria was excellent.

Sitting outside on a beautiful night with great company makes almost every restaurant worthwhile, but our server kept bringing out plate after plate of delicious food from the kitchen. Particular standouts were the beef and potato croquettes, quail eggs and chorizo on toast, lamb skewers and the squid ink pasta with shellfish that absolutely stole the show. In fact, other than a standard beet salad dish, every single dish that we had (a lot of dishes with seven people) I would grade at a B+ or higher. Overall, simply a great place to eat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very disappointing lunch there yesterday. All five items -- the bacon-wrapped dates; the spinach/pinon/chickpeas (way, way oversalted); the quail egg on toast; the squid; and the lamb meatballs -- were unremarkable at best; not nearly as good as comparable dishes at Jaleo and Estadio; and significantly overpriced (as is the case with many "small dishes" all over town recently).

I hope it was just an off day in the kitchen, since I've heard such great things about the NYC locations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very disappointing lunch there yesterday. All five items -- the bacon-wrapped dates; the spinach/pinon/chickpeas (way, way oversalted); the quail egg on toast; the squid; and the lamb meatballs -- were unremarkable at best; not nearly as good as comparable dishes at Jaleo and Estadio; and significantly overpriced (as is the case with many "small dishes" all over town recently).

I hope it was just an off day in the kitchen, since I've heard such great things about the NYC locations.

Sounds like an off day. When I went last I found it pricey (but I feel that way abt tapas in general); the flavors were clean (minus finding plastic in my squid) and balanced. It won't break taste bud boundaries but thought its a nice addition to the area...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One clear long thin one and a few bits plus a circular one. Never seen squid cartilage--I feel so ignorant. It's usu cleaned when I buy at the Asian store--thanks Junebacon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't go enough to really judge where the overall quality is at the moment, but I can say that my lunch today, a serrano ham/manchego cheese sandwich served with a side of patatas bravas and a small salad for $9, is one of the better values in the Dupont area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One clear long thin one and a few bits plus a circular one. Never seen squid cartilage--I feel so ignorant. It's usu cleaned when I buy at the Asian store--thanks Junebacon

Don't feel bad - many years ago, I complained to my server in a Pho house that my cilantro smelled like soap. She looked at me with some degree of indignity, and said, "no, that's because it's cilantro" (and she was right).

I'll bet a *lot* of people don't know about squid cartilage - thanks for the post, JuneBacon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×