Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The New York Tapas Scam

I submitted these comments on this article in the New York Times that prompted the food critic (who doesn't even have to shell out for his meals) to wonder about the sanity of the small food craze in this rapacious town. It is a subject that has long been simmering in my bile. Here is my beef:

This small plates craze is the biggest New York ripoff since the financial crisis. Certain clarification is in order.
I spent 10 days in Barcelona recently. The tapas there are the size of Wyoming. 
The first time we ordered tapas we were thinking skimpy NY portions so we let it rip: pimientos de padrón, serrano ham, croquettes, tortilla, gambas al ajillo, what have you. It was a meal that could have easily been shared by six people, or more.The tapas in NY are as overpriced as they are undernourishing.
Rajj and Montero are particularly notorious at this scam. I have been to their restaurant Pintxtos, where a montadito is a puny slice of bread with a Spanish schmear. The bill for 3 small plates and two beers came to over $60.00. Any tapa you have at a bar in Spain is generously served and you can see it without magnifying glasses. As the writer points out, the entire concept and philosophy of the tapa has been perverted into culinary armed robbery here in New York. It's time to revolt against it. 
It is the generosity of spirit of those local culinary traditions that doesn't translate in New York. That generosity is an essential part of the cuisine, and if it is not there, no matter how good the food, as far as I'm concerned, the meal is bogus. 

I rest my case

To make matters worse, recently I read something somewhere by some American genius who discovered the virtues of small glasses of beer (as opposed to the disgusting buckets they give you here for draft beers) as if they themselves had found the Higgs Boson under the carpet. Dude, anybody who has ever been to Spain knows that there is no fresher, cooler or better glass of beer than what the Spanish call a "caña". A small little glass, perhaps 8 ounces, of crisp, ice-cold beer that never warms up or loses its fizz.  I have never understood the benefits of drinking flat, stale, tepid beer from a huge glass, like they do here.  

He dicho. 

1 comment:

  1. And if you are in northern Spain and have a caña, tapas are free...