The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 8 October 2007

Spanish @ Malaga, New York

With the exception of tapas, Spanish cuisine is sorely lacking in the Perth's dining scene. It must be Perth's isolation since it's not so much a problem elsewhere - Sydney has a Spanish quarter in its CBD, and I've even had paella in Chiba (although it was quite Japanised, as to be expected). Therefore we made it a point to visit a Spanish restaurant in NYC during our stay since there are many Hispanics living there and hence many authentic Spanish restaurants.

Honey was still visiting us, so it was a great first opportunity for her to try the Spanish cuisine. I chose Malaga because I was specifically looking for good paella, and reviews of this Spanish restaurant seem to agree that their paella is a must-try. We went to Malaga for Sunday lunch, and there was only one staff on the floor, but we were the only customers so we received pretty good attention from him. Service was very good and personable (I like being called seƱorita!), and the complementary fresh warm bread was scrumptious.

The menu was pretty extensive with a lot to offer, and once we'd placed our orders, we were each served with a plate of dressed salad. We had some tapas to begin with: Pasteles De Necorn (a spicy blue-claw lump crab meat cakes, $12.95) and some Spicy Spanish Sausages (chorizos, $7.95)). The chorizos were so-so (I'm not big on sausages) but the crabcake was really good - there were huge chunks of sweet crab meat.

Bread, salad and tapas

I knew what I wanted for my main dish even before sitting down: Paella Marinara (seafood, $19.95). My seafood paella came out in a large paellera with a serving big enough for two people. It was delicious, but for the first time dining out in NYC, I thought that the rice was somewhat under-seasoned (Americans love their salt here). I guess it was better for me to season the rice to my liking rather than not having the choice at all. The seafood mussels, prawns, clams and scallops.

The seafood paella, plated:

Rob went with Camarones a La Cazuela - roasted large 'shrimps' with orange butter vanilla and white wine sauteed mushrooms ($18.95). The prawns were a bit too buttery for my liking, but Rob and Honey loved it. They were cooked quite nicely and not too overdone.

Honey ordered Mariscada with Green Sauce (mixed seafood in sauce with parsley, onions, sherry and garlic, $19.95). The seafood came out in a large pot, and Honey got a large plate of saffron rice to eat with the seafood - once again, this was enough for two people. Once plated, it looked like a more saucy version of my paella. The sauce was deliciously garlicky, and went really well with the seafood. This was a good choice.

Mariscada, plated on saffronrice

After we were done with the main course, we were really stuffed (with leftovers to bring home), but both Honey and Rob insisted on having dessert. There wasn't much to choose from, so we settled on sharing two fruit sorbets ($6.25 each): pineapple and coconut. The presentation was so cute and very fitting since they were made with the real fruits. There were chunks of pineapple in the pineapple sorbet, and the coconut sorbet was very creamy.

It was a good experience, and I hope Honey enjoyed her first taste of Spanish food. I wish I could have more opportunities to eat authentic Spanish food.

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