I had high hopes for this Spanish restaurant at 40-12 83rd Street in Jackson Heights/Elmhurst. The menu looks great, comparable to, although smaller than, the menu at Fornos of Spain in the Ironbound section of Newark, which is the standard by which I am rating Meson.
The room is nice, cozy, exposed wood beams, Flamenco dancer paintings...about what you would expect.
Complimentary olives/onions/carrots/peppers were brought out with the bread. The olives were small cerignolas, green and black, but were bland. The onions/peppers and carrots were equally bland.
The waiter brought out a terrine of Sopa Galicia and served it into bowls for us. The soup was basically a bean and potato soup flavored with ham. This too, was unfortunately bland and watery.
I ordered a half bottle of Marques De Caceres wine, 2004, red table wine. That was the best part of the meal....It was very good.
For an appetizer, we ordered Jamon y Queso (serrano ham and cheese) which came neatly arranged on a plate with a few more of the bland green cerignola olives. The ham was average to bland. The cheese was surprisingly tasty. I believe it was Manchego, but I didn't ask.
For main courses, I had the Camarones al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic). Compared to Fornos of Spain, I would rate this dish no higher than 3 out of 10. There were about 10-12 shrimp in a terrine, simmering in a brownish red liquid. The garlic, rather than being crushed, was sliced and sparse. Not much garlic + not crushed = not much flavor. It was watery. They definitely needed to used crushed garlic, add more and then reduce the liquid to boost the flavor.
My girlfriend had the Asopado Mariscos Pescado, a seafood stew that was tastier than my dish, but only because she asked the waiter to bring her a sliced lemon which she sqeezed into the stew. Interestingly, the shrimp in her dish were a different consistency, more translucent than the ones in my dish. There was a nice variety of seafood in this dish.
Needless to say, we didn't stay for dessert. Damage was $68.00 plus $12.00 tip.
On the way home, my girlfriend suggested we stick with Sripraphai. :) Done.