Thursday, April 27, 2006

Las Ramblas: Petite Perfection


Over the course of the last few months we’ve witnessed the ascent of Morimoto, Del Posto and Buddakan. There’s even rumored to be a three-story steak house going into an old parking garage on Little West 12th Street. But with all of these over-sized, over-designed, over-eateries, the lower West Side of Manhattan is giving Orlando a run for its money.

But how much can one truly over-indulge? Just a few weeks ago I refused to dine out, I just couldn't handle the gluttony of it all. It’s more than the food; it’s the crowd, the atmosphere, the entire experience.

Therefore, you can imagine my delight dining (I got over it) at Las Ramblas, an adorably quaint and delightfully delicious tapas bar on West 4th Street. The incredibly small dining and bar area bustle with an unpretentious after-work crowd as the extremely helpful staff guides you through the menu.

Each small plate, with offerings such as grilled octopus, chicken empanadas and steaming garlic shrimp, are complimented by an extensive wine list and cocktail menu. The made-to-order sparkling strawberry sangria is refreshing and naturally sweet, a must for these warm pre-summer evenings.

Though most would consider Las Ramblas neither new nor noteworthy, their petite approach brings much delight. Even our check was small.

Final Word: I guess good things do come in small packages. Bring a friend, but only one. Las Ramblas, 170 West 4th Street, between Jones and Cornelia.

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