I am a very indecisive person. So the Tapas trend has been my absolute favorite for the past few years. I love being able to order a few different things, easily share and keep any of the envy, forks marking their way to the other side of the table and bitterness about ordering the wrong dish out of the meal.
I met my friend in the lobby of 30 Rock with no knowledge of where we were going to eat. I wanted a surprise and he always gets it right. We made our way to Chelsea and walked into Salina’s. It was gorgeous inside and I felt slightly embarrassed in my rain boots and backpack. We were seated in the back, in the open patio area, right next to the fire place. The hostess kindly took our coats and my backpack and we were left to our own devices.
We asked about the sangria and were told the small pitcher held between 4-5 glasses. Perfect!
It ended up being even larger then we had expected. It’s always a pleasant surprise when a place isn’t skimpy on the pitchers. I hate that I tend to expect the worst in a restaurant now.
We were so wrapped up in our conversation that we didn’t even look at the menu. Quickly we ordered the shrimp dish to start and went back to our talking, stomachs grumbling.
They brought out bread and a delicious olive oil, fig and olive aioli for dipping. Boy was this addicting.
This was wonderful. I absolutely love olive spreads and figs, making this combination perfect. I kept going back for more to the point where my friend even sounded like my mother telling me to “save room for dinner.” And I am definitely glad I did. Midway into making a bite, the shrimp arrived.
This dish was fabulous. It came out all steamy, letting you know that it was right out of the oven. It was delicious with all of the garlicy goodness. Then you get some of the freshness of the steaming hot mushrooms. The broth was so delicious, we licked it up until all of the broth was consumed. It made us super excited for the next dishes.
We ordered a crispy flat bread next. The waitress described it almost as a cracker. In my head, I was picturing some sort of matzah-type bread. What came out was extremely different, but totally on par with her description, even though it doesn’t look it.
The waitress was right, the bread was so crispy almost like a cracker. I couldn’t understand how it was puffed up, while still retaining the crispy outside with a hallow middle. The sweetness of the honey, followed by the tartness of the cheese, and finally ending with the spice of the thyme made this bite delicious. I couldn’t even wrap my head around all of the complex flavors. We were licking our fingers by the end. It was beyond delicious.
Finally, we decided on our main dish; Rossejat Rapida, a pasta dish that my friend had seen as the best rated dish on the menu. We both developed a weakness for patatas bravas while studying in Europe, mainly being in Barcelona (where my friend studied). The waitress highly recommended them, saying they were the best she ever had, although she hadn’t been to Spain. We figured we might as well try them out. We sipped some more sangria as the sun began to set outside and the charming lights came on inside.
Then we mixed the aioli up with the pasta, created a messy delicious looking pasta.
Both of these dishes were delicious to a new level. The Rossejat Rapida reminded me of paella with a twist. The small pieces of pasta was perfectly crispy. The pieces were so little, I definitely made a mess of my plate and struggled a bit getting each piece into my mouth. When I did, I was overwhelmed with flavor. First you taste the saffron aioli and then the crispiness of the pasta. Then you get the sweet bite of a fava bean and then occasionally the crispy spicy chorizo. And for someone who is not a chicken fan, I really enjoyed it in the dish. The best was sucking on the cockle shell and getting all of the flavors mixed with the fishy goodness.
With the patatas bravas on the side, it was a great balance. At first, the potatoes were just crispy with a little kick of heat. But as you couldn’t stop eating, the heat began to build and build until your mouth was perfectly on fire. I had to stop before it became too overwhelming because I wanted to continue enjoying the flavorful pasta dish. It was wonderful.
The meal was fabulous and I turned around to leave, I realized just how beautiful the restaurant was.
It is a wonderful place for a date, a girls night, or just a fun night of delicious food and company. This is definitely a gem and a place to add to your eating list.
Salina’s – 136 9th Avenue – New York, NY
Location: Chelsea, NY
Type: Spanish, Tapas
Perfect For: Girls’ Night Out, Date Night, Special Occasions, Small Plates, Dinner with Parents
Reservations: Recommended via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Rossejat Rapida, Honey Flat Bread, Sauteed Shrimp, Patatas Bravas, Sangria