GRAZING SPANISH AT ‘BOLO’ IN NEW YORK
‘BoLo’ Restaurant and Bar, 23 East 22nd Street, New York.
Long time friends from ‘Mesa Grill’, Bobby Flay ("Bo") and Laurence Kretchmer ("Lo") went into partnership with ‘BoLo’, which opened in 1993. They wanted to do something that no one else was doing, the goal being to do for Spanish cuisine what ‘Mesa Grill’ did for South-western USA food. Being located in the heart of the Flatiron District, undoubtedly New York's restaurant epicentre, they wanted to cater to a very diverse clientele at ‘BoLo’. Bobby Flay is a well-known ‘media’ chef in America.
Estrella Galicia Beer.
Estrella is the largest exporter of Spanish beer to USA. Remarkably, it has its origins in Mexico as the founder returned to Spain from there.
Nora 2002, Albarino Rias Baixas.
Although Albarino wines are some of the most expensive and highly prized white wines in both Portugal (where it is called Alvarinho) and Spain, this variety is rarely cultivated elsewhere. Nora is from the southern part of the Rias Baixas region of Spain near Portugal. It is palest amber in colour. The nose is of green apple and peach. On the palate, the wine is fruity with citrus and peach. There is no oak. It goes well with any shellfish combination as well as spicy cuisine. Nora is unique in that it is relatively inexpensive for an Albarino.
Guelbenzu 2001, Evo
Cabernet Sauvignon 64%, Merlot 26%, Tempranillo / Tinto Roriz 10%.
Bright red-ruby. Slightly jammy aroma of black cherry and chocolate truffles. Sweet but dry on the palate, with ripe flavours of raspberry and chocolate. Full bodied, high acidity with strong tannin finish. Goes well with spicy dishes.
MTF: Charcoal Grilled Octopus with Grilled Lemons, Fresh Oregano & Garlic Oil.
Good execution of a potentially rubbery dish; only the slightest hint of overcooking.
Diner Y: Tapas selection; choice of four from the following:
- Saffron Rice Cake with Shrimp
- Sautéed Squid & Bacon with Garlic Oil
- Artichoke Heart with Quail Egg & Salmon Caviar
- White Anchovies with Sour Orange
- Cured Salmon, Piquillo Pepper, Fennel Salad
- Twelve Layer Potato with Caramelized Shallots
- Duck Prosciutto with Bread Salad
- Salt Cod Fritter with Parsley-Garlic Sauce
- Pan Fried Duck Liver with Sherry Vinegar, Honey & Black Pepper
- Sea Scallop Tartare with Clementine & Saffron Pickled Onions
- Lamb Tenderloin with Arugula & Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes
- Shrimp, Chorizo & White Bean Toast with Fresh Thyme
- Pork, Potato & Goat Cheese Skewer with Smoked Paprika
MTF: Black Squid Ink Risotto with Grilled Prawns, Lobster & Green Onion Vinaigrette.
Nice rendition of a classic Mediterranean dish; noteworthy.
Diner X: Steamed Baby Clams with Saffron-Tomato Broth & Green Onion Croutons.
Signature dish and so it should be from the smidgin, which I tasted. Done well!
No – this was not on the menu but was worn by Diner Z.
MTF: Chocolate Ganache Bread Pudding with Port-Caramel Sauce & Vanilla-Port Swirl
Rather stodgy sweet concoction, which did nothing for my taste buds. I left most of it.
Bread pudding is a funny thing; it looks simple but is one of the most challenging dishes to do well. Sometimes, simple is best. A classic bread and butter pudding with raisins and good custard sauce really hits the spot. This one is best described as “spot the miss”.
Dinner X: Sherry-Robiola Cheesecake with Fruit Shortbread Crust & Citrus Granita.
By all accounts, this looked good, smelt good and by golly, it tasted good too.
Diner W: Crisp Raspberry Butter Tart with Almond Crunch Ice Cream.
“Sweet and sour creamy heaven!”, according to Diner W.
COFFEE and LIQUERS
All the usual after-dinner drinks ensued. We were "under whelmed" by the suggested liqueur and were glad not to have played the ‘Sommelier’s Choice’ game earlier when choosing our wines. The lady playing the role of sommelier that evening, was not.........
I am usually wary of restaurants owned by celebrity chefs. It is a hands-on vocation and difficult to produce excellence by remote control. I was glad of my dining experience at ‘BoLo’ and there were no great mishaps. On the other hand, given the fine choices in New York City, it is not of the first order of importance to make a return visit compulsory.
Photos and Text Copyright Melvyn Teillol-Foo, 2004.