ate dinner at cafe espanol on carmine on saturday, and was less than pleased. i had suggested pintxos (based on walking by it numerous times) or la nacional (based on chowhound reports), but my friend found this restaurant on zagat's or citysearch or something.
my friend and i split the garlic shrimp appetizer and the paella with lobster. my other friend had red snapper. my friend with the red snapper liked the flavor but couldn't get over the rubberiness...only managed half of it. my friend who shared the paella with me raved about it...the sheer size of the dish and the great smell were definitely impressive. but after i started eating i began to question what she was tasting. the lobster was fine, as was the sausage and rice. but the shrimp were flavorless and a bit too firm, scallops were very rubbery, and mussels had large gritty pieces that hurt my teeth far too much to qualify as "sand." good sangria, though.
so that's my review of cafe espanol, but i'd also like to know what others think of my original suggestions. i searched for pintxos on this site and found very little...i was surprised because i heard from a few people that it was wonderful...but i never saw a big crowd so perhaps it's still somewhat unknown? as for la nacional, the few posts i found were absolute raves, but one poster mentioned it had "no atmosphere." just to clarify, would that be more like flor's kitchen or more like bereket? just wondering!