Why Come Here? Cute back garden/fireplace area, some excellent cocktails, eat tapas with the MePa crowd
Salinas has received a lot of hype as a hot new tapas spot, so we were excited to finally check it out one Friday night. The space is cool, especially the backroom which comes complete with fireplace and retractable roof. It’s everything you’d expect from a Meatpacking District restaurant in that regard. Unfortunately, it’s also everything you’d expect in terms of the crowd, service and food.
We started off by waiting for 45 minutes despite having a reservation. This did give us a chance to enjoy some excellent cocktails, however it would have been nice to see them comped given the wait. Strike one. Our table was in the back area, which does feature a cozy fireplace and a retractable roof that would be enjoyable on a summer’s day. However, it wasn’t summer. It was January. And they decided to open the roof to “cool things down.” It was very unpleasant especially since we were sitting under the opened part. It took repeated requests from my girlfriend and other patrons before they finally closed it back up. Even excluding that, the service was inattentive at best. Strike 2.
Now onto the food, or Strike 3 as I call it. Not terrible, but certainly not worth the praise. Here’s what we ordered:
Manzana de la Mancha (cachaca, cider, lemon & elderflower liquor)*** – This cocktail was the highlight of the evening. Sweet, sour and bitter, it’s definitely worth it if your friends drag you here. Katherine – who ordered it – gave it 4 stars.
Coles y Color (Fried Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower) *- It’s funny that brussels sprouts is the first ingredient here because it’s mostly cauliflower with a couple sprouts. If that’s what you’re up for, there are some interesting enough flavors.
Crujientes Mahones * – A lot of critics talked this one up so I felt we had to give it a try. As you can see above, you basically get a big, hollow piece of bread with cheese and honey on top. The pieces with the cheese are very good, but it’s kind of hard to eat as the bread just breaks apart when you try to cut it. And the pieces without cheese are just bread crust.
Pulpo (poached octopus) – Not sure what happened here as it’s another critically acclaimed dish. However, the octopus was mushy and bland. The only flavors that came through were potato and a little bit of the paprika. We didn’t finish it.
Rosejat Rapida ** – This is the signature dish at Salinas and it is actually quite good, although a little heavy on the salt. The saffron flavors really come through, but the different textures keep it interesting.