I can’t imagine how many times I have walked or driven past this restaurant without giving it a second glance. Apparently, El Quixote on West 23rd Street, has been at the same location since the 1930’s, but it wasn’t until last week that I was tempted to try it (probably because I was on 23rd St and it was freezing out and I was in a dress and high heels!). It turned out to be quite a fortuitous decision, as the food is really, really good. The menu is quite expansive, and even so, they had an impressive list of specials. We opted for the Bacalao and Potato Croquettes, the grilled langostinos, and the the Mussels Villaroy as appetizers, with a pitcher of white sangria that was almost as good as mine. You can easily make a meal just from the tapas and appetizers,. The croquettes were delicate and creamy…easily the best I’ve ever had: not greasy at all, just crisp and delicious.
The langostinos were garlicky, sweet, meaty, and large!! I thought they were a steal for $8.95 for four.
The mussels were devine. Partially steamed, half of the shell is discarded, and the half that contains the mussel meat is coated with bechamel sauce, then chilled. When you are ready to serve these babies, dip the hardened bechamel in egg, then breadcrumbs, and fry, crumb side down. The result? Crispy exterior coats a creamy hot bechamel which in turn covers a sweet, plump mussel. Interpretation? HEAVEN!
Migui decided she wanted to try the Mariscada Criolla which could have easily fed us both, as the portions are very ample. The light tomato sauce that bathed the assorted shellfish was seasoned to the point, and redolent of the ocean.
Finally, I had the Langosta en Salsa Blanca (shelled lobster meat in a creamy bechamel that is perfumed with shallots, leeks and sherry) over some yellow saffron rice. I used to get this dish all the time when I visited my favorite Spanish restaurant (who has since changed hands and the food is now inedible), and it was really wonderful to order this and have it taste every bit as delicious as I remembered it being.
After all of this (we ended up taking doggie bags home!) dessert was out of the question, not because it didn’t look delicious, but because we were so full, we were having trouble breathing! This is definately worth a trip to West 23rd St.
El Quixote Bar & Restaurant
226 W 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011