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Manhattan Tapas

gambas ajillo and tapas at Sala Restaurant

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gambas ajillo and tapas at Sala Restaurant

Flynn | Dec 27, 2002 10:36 AM

I'd appreciate it if all knowledgable hounds would clarify something for me about the size of gambas as I always thought they were a Spanish word for large shrimp. Here's what happened recently at a tapas restaurant on the Bowery.

A friend and I went to Sala and ordered a Spanish mixed antipasto which consisted of various cold cuts and cabrales (Spanish blue cheese), fresh grilled anchovies, and gambas ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce). When the gambas arrived, the shrimp were tiny, tasteless, and I complained to the waitress that they looked just like the size of baby shrimp you find in those jars with red horseradish sauce. She stated that's how they were served and then got the manager. The manager was confrontational and said I was mistaken and probably meant langouste. I was not in the mood to argue and he said he had lived in Spain and that's how they were served in Spain...tiny shrimp, blah blah. He finally took them back and we ordered grilled calamari in its place.

My question: are gambas tiny or larger size? These were so small that I can't believe any true red-blooded Spaniard would eat miniscule shrimp like those served at Sala.

Incidentally, IMO, El Cid is still the very best for tapas.

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