There is only one way to experience the best food at a restaurant; ask the waiter what his, or her, favorite item is. That is exactly what I did when I went to Socarrat, a small Spanish restaurant in Midtown.
It was a Tuesday like any other, except on this particular day I was desperate for someone to talk with. So, I told my friend to meet me at Socarrat for ½ price wine and tapas. It was the best decision I have made in a while.
Upon sitting down, my glass was filled with their enticing house red, and I looked at their extensive list of tapas. My friend already had two in mind, but we needed two more to be fully satisfied. At half price, we could afford to be a little adventurous.
Have I mentioned how much I love happy hour?
Anyway, since I am terrible at decisions, I decided to NOT make the choice, and I asked the waiter instead. In my experience, this can either yield life changing, or disastrous, results.
“The beef cheek and octopus,” he said without a moment of hesitation.
“Okay…” we both replied, fear barely perceptible in our voices. “That’s what we will get.”
One glass of wine later, and our food began to make its way to us, sizzling and hissing all the way. The aroma of the shrimp we ordered was infiltrating our senses. The garlic was almost overwhelming, and our stomachs immediately grumbled.
Next came the mushrooms; we figured we would be somewhat healthy and eat our vegetables. Fortunately, they looked just as appetizing as the shrimp.
Now for the main event… octopus. I never ate an octopus that wasn’t fried, and this was definitely a new experience. Strategically placed around something potato-like, we were awestruck by the color and texture of the dish.
Last, but not least, the beef cheek made its way to our table. Before we saw it, we smelled it. The aroma of well-cooked beef is hard to miss. Our heads turned, and smiles crept their way to our faces; we knew this was going to be our favorite dish.
We weren’t wrong.
The waiter poured us each another glass of wine, and we dug in. We ate the shrimp, which was sizzled to perfection. We munched on the mushrooms, which were coated with the most flavorful seasoning imaginable. We hesitantly tasted the octopus, which was surprisingly delicious. Finally, we dove mouth first into the beef cheek, which was melt in your mouth perfection. Layered on top of a bed of spiced apples, the beef cheek exploded with flavor and dissolved on our tongues. I wish I ordered four of the dish, because I couldn’t get enough.
We ate, we drank, and we relished in the deliciousness of our meal. When the check came we didn’t flinch, because it was all ½ price! (Okay, maybe we flinched a bit, but only because we are poor post-grads, but it was DEFINITELY worth every penny).
Will I go back? Yes. Will I recommend it? Only to everyone I know.