Summer in NYC is a three-month-long quest to beat the heat. And we just learned the easiest way to transport yourself from the hot streets of Midtown to the breezy beaches of Barcelona: Socarrat Paella Bar. Roger Smith management intern and Barcelona native Ricard Doga heads here for authentic tapas, paella and sangria—the perfect recipe for a summer day.
One of the most popular tapas in both Spain and here at Socarrat, croquetas are vegetables, meat or fish chopped up and fried in breadcrumbs.
This dish is typical for Catalonia, a region with its own distinct culture and language. The recipe is simple enough: fresh tomato spread, olive oil and garlic on toast. In Spain, the tomatoes usually come smashed and then brushed onto the bread. At Socarrat, they’re diced, but when it comes to taste, Ricard’s verdict: this dish is the real deal.
Spain’s popular patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) get their kick from the combination of aioli and tomato-and-paprika sauces they’re served with. Ricard explains that aioli—a blend of garlic and olive oil—is a mainstay dish on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
The famous Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken and seafood, paella originated in Valencia, around 200 miles south along the coast from Barcelona. Cooked and served in a large, shallow pan, Socarrat’s paella comes loaded with chicken, beef, shrimp, white fish, cuttlefish, mussels, cockles and fava beans ($24 per serving). Two servings is so filling it can easily feed three—especially after sharing a few tapas.
Ricard tells us that the restaurant’s name Socarrat refers to to the “seductive caramelization of the bottom layer of a perfect paella when it’s cooked correctly and all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done.” The rice along the edges of the pan becomes crispier and more flavorful than the middle.
And of course, Ricard says that you can’t enjoy tapas without a drink. Socarrat’s red sangria ($12 glass, $42 pitcher) might not be the homemade version Ricard’s family makes, but we’ll take it—especially on a hot summer afternoon in New York.
Socarrat Paella Bar: 953 2nd Ave., 212-759-0101
Faces of Roger Smith: Ricard Doga
Born and raised on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Ricard has an unconditional love for the sea—but that didn’t stop him from moving to New York to be a Hotel Management Trainee at Roger Smith Hotel. Ricard loves cooking and eating good food, beach volleyball, hiking and any water or snow sport.