By Molly Freeman
Brochetas De Res. Photos by Molly Freeman.
I first dined at Las Ramblas Bar de Tapas (located at 170 Fourth Street in the West Village of NYC) last spring with a group of three companions for a friend’s birthday celebration. This year we returned–one person short–for another birthday (another year older and another pitcher of sangria richer). While Las Ramblas is a bit expensive, it’s certainly worth the trip on a special occasion.
As a tapas restaurant, the majority of the menu is small plates that are meant to be shared by the table. My dining companions and I shared six plates between us.
Empanadas De Pollo.
Our first round we ordered the Calamares Fritos (fried calamari served with a side of piparrada sauce) and the Empanadas De Pollo (chicken empanadas with pimenton aioli dipping sauce). I’m not a huge fan of seafood so I can’t critique the calamari, though it was a bit too chewy for my taste. However, the empanadas were delicious and the sauce was so good that my friends and I saved it to be used with other dishes.
Next we ordered our favorite tapas from the previous year, the Patatas Bravas (potatoes with paprika and an aioli sauce), as well as a dish we hadn’t tried, the Brochetas De Res (skewers of beef covered with a tempranillo wine sauce). The potatoes were just as delicious as we had remembered and we certainly could have eaten an entire second–and third and fourth–plate of them. The beef was also amazing, perfectly cooked and tender, while the sauce was so tasty I wish I could have taken some home.
Lastly, my companions and I ordered the other calamari dish on the menu, the Chopitos (baby calamari fried with lemon, garlic, and olive oil), as well as the Albondigas (meatballs served with garlic, manchego cheese, and a lemon-oregano dressing). Although the meatballs were a little dry, the dressing was delicious. However, the star of this round was easily the Chopitos, which were perfectly crispy and had just enough lemon to dilute the fishiness that I usually dislike about seafood.
Red Pear sangria.
Since Las Ramblas is modeled after Spanish cuisine, the restaurant has a lengthy list of wines on offer and a much smaller selection of beer, with only four on tap. Las Ramblas also has a handful of cocktails and three varieties of sangria.
My friends and I drank three pitchers of the sangria. First, we tried the White Pomegranate Berry then the Red Pear and finished off with another of the white. (At the time, Las Ramblas was out of their Sparkling Strawberry sangria.) As you may be able to tell, we much preferred the white sangria to the red as it was much sweeter–perhaps dangerously so since it simply tasted like juice. That being said, the Red Pear is closer to traditional sangria and certainly delicious as well.
Las Ramblas is incredibly small, with perhaps only 10-12 small tables, so it can feel a bit cramped. However, the entire front of the restaurant opens up onto West Fourth Street, alleviating some of the claustrophobia. Otherwise, Las Ramblas is decorated simply in a manner that’s reminiscent of the Spanish street for which it’s named.
As for the service, every member of the wait staff was attentive and someone always appeared whenever we finished a plate or a pitcher of sangria asking if we would like to order anything else. Though there was some confusion between servers at one point, it was only once throughout the entire night.
All in all, Las Ramblas is a cozy restaurant with delicious food and drinks where it is strangely easy to get a table. Although I probably won’t make a habit of revisiting too often since it is a bit pricy, it has become a favorite and one that my friends and I will surely revisit.