Since it was a beautiful night last night, I dragged a friend to eat in the garden at 1492, a Spanish place on Clinton Street that had been recommended on these boards several times.
Atmosphere: The garden itself was really nice -- very narrow and long, with an ivy-covered wall on one side and a picket fence covering up views of a schoolyard on the other. Simple decor with candles on the tables. I can imagine it being a good date place, but the parties there last night (early -- from about 7 to 8) were mostly groups of 3 or 4 women. Inside looked very nice as well, with a pretty bar at the front and exposed brick walls.
Food -- we ordered tapas (clearly the choice that we were expected to make, since the menu was offered tapas-side up.) We were told upon sitting down that they were out of the bacon-wrapped dates, which was a big disappointment. (And how can you be "out" of a dish at 7:00 when the restaurant was literally empty except for us. Sigh). We perservered and ordered too much food, just to try things.
First round was the fries with 3 sauces (a cheesy sauce, a mayonnaise, and a spicy tomato sauce). Very crispy and good. (My friend's fave dish of the night). With it came the portobello croquettes, which I didn't much like -- they'd pureed the mushrooms, so it was sort of goopy. (Also with it was the bread -- nice French rolls with totally melted butter.)
Second round was garlic shrimp and grilled asparagus with roasted peppers. Both fine, and not earth-shattering. (Garlic sauce great with the bread.)
Third round was meatballs and tortilla with spinach. Meatballs ok but a bit bland (my dining companion politely asked "what's in these meatballs, they seem a little...dense"). The tortilla might have been my favorite thing of the night. Very yummy spinach in particular.
Service: Everything was fine and prompt, and we got the right food and everything. I did get the distinct impression that they were unhappy that we didn't order drinks (actually we tried ordering diet cokes but were told after a trip to the bar that they didn't have any diet soda so we stuck with water.)
Total tab: $65 (or so) including tax and tip. Not bad, not a bargain either. I'd say we could have done with one or two fewer dishes -- we couldn't finish everything and were totally stuffed by the end of the evening. Probably better with a big group (and when the stuffed dates are available).
60 Clinton Street (bet. Rivington and Stanton)