El Quijote - Chelsea

As has been amply reported elsewhere, El Quijote in the Chelsea Hotel reopened a few months ago, spruced up, shrunk down, and haute cuisined. Reservations are tough, but I lucked out and snagged one for last night (a Saturday! the horror) at the very civilized hour of 7pm. Probably because it’s Memorial Day weekend and everyone’s skipped town.

I have only good things to report. The food is better, and also a lot more expensive, but in a worth-it way. The music is terrific. The service is friendly - the (maybe?) dining room manager swung by multiple times to see how we were doing, and to chitchat about how appropriate it was to play Patti Smith when she used to live upstairs. Between the two of us, we had five dishes and split a dessert, which was plenty of food (don’t listen to Yelp). Here’s some of it:

Cod fritters, as light and airy a rendition as one is likely to find.


Patatas Bravas, nice and crisp with an excellent confit tomato to go with. Also alioli, because obviously.
Serrano ham, which I don’t eat, but my companion hoovered it up, so it must’ve been good.
Gambas, head-on, very nice.

Chilled hazelnut soup with (vaguely) pickled cukes and shaved dried tuna. If I had one complaint, it would be that this should really have been served first, before my taste buds got oiled and garlicked. Because it kind of vanished, being so delicate.


A Tuxedo #5. Every have coconut and pimenton in the same glass? Me neither. It’s not really the best idea.


And then a gin & tonic, which was served in a fishbowl and had a salad floating in it. Which was awesome!
And this cake, good lord. Gateau Basque with rum and almonds.


So! Do I miss the steamed lobsters, cottony bread, fried Spanish potatoes, and salad with Catalina French dressing? Kind of! But this is good, too.


Aagh - I should have made better use of Mem Day weekend nights after canceling plans to go east…

Those croquettes do look good.