Not sure what the pinball machine is all about
Luisa & Manzanilla
I discovered Bar Carrera on 2nd Avenue. No NY foodie turned me onto it. No NY Times review. Nada. I found it and I'll tell you how. It is a rare thing to see Manzanilla Sherry on a restaurant menu. I'm not sure why. It's perfect with olives, warmed almonds and white anchovies. And it's cheap. Trad isn't cheap but Trad is a good value and Carrera is that.
Everywhere in NYC there are adorable restaurants, usually in midtown, with charming bistro tables, beautiful facades and they almost all suck. Not only do they suck but they're overpriced. What an insult. Now, I was thrown by the pinball machine but hang with me for a minute. Which is about how long it took to get our starters.
We were early. 5:30PM or so. It was empty. Not much cooking with nuts, olives and anchovies but that's the beauty of Spanish Tapas. White anchovies with Manzanilla Sherry is like having sex on a beach. A little messy but you'll never forget it. Munching warmed Marcona almonds is like drying off afterwards. Soft and salty and rich. I love olives but Carrera seemed to have procured theirs from my father's bar.
Tables are shared - at least the best ones - and while I'm usually not a fan of shared tables or wandering musicians - our neighbors had just returned from 12 days in Spain. Wonderful people. I turned him onto the Manzanilla and told her I loved bullfights. One and outta two ain't bad.
The Foxtrot ordered the egg in a blanket and, quite frankly, I haven't come up with a sex act to compare it to. It was that amazing. Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and an egg drizzled in truffle oil and baked in a brioche. It was the best thing on the menu...
Followed by the Jamon and Mozzarella combination plate. Crusty bread is included but I think it gets in the way. The pork belly was good but fat is lost at Carerra when everything else is so clean and bright. The $40 Cava was a steal but the $8 a glass Manzinilla adds up fast. I lost count and I think our waitress Luisa did as well.
Luisa suggests you come early. Things start 'happening' here around 9PM and when things get 'happening' - it's time for me to leave and find a beach. Check Carerra out for yourself. 175 Second Avenue. Across the street from the loudest squeaking door in New York.