Salinas [Click the photo above to go to Salinas website]
136 9th Avenue (between 18th and 19th Street) New York, NY 10011
After just seeing my dad a few days ago, I guess he felt it was pertinent to see me again and expand my waistline. Thanks. So off to dinner I went with my dad and sister.
My sister goes to grad school at Columbia (She is getting her masters in literacy, going to be a teacher molding children’s minds, some crap like that) so it made sense to meet on the west side, and I compromised by not going too far uptown.
Besides I thought, how bad could tapas really be for you? They’re small portions. Yeah, I don’t know about that.
I somehow managed to get there first, and the hostess says that I can wait at the bar for the rest of my party to arrive. I was originally not going to drink anything, but when the bartender asked me what I wanted, when I expected to say water I said, “something spicy please, with tequila.” I don’t know what happened.
My sister comes in next, orders sangria, and tells me that Dad is parking the car. She informs me that they’re not giving me a ride back to my apartment, so now I’ll have to spend $15 on a cab ride to accommodate the rest of my family (what is that about??).
Late Larry comes strolling in, comes up to us, and goes, “the table’s ready,” as if he’s been waiting on us.
“You’ll take care of the bar tab?” Thanks.
We get seated, and I start shooting out ideas for what to order. My dad doesn’t do well with tapas (he was a disaster when he visited me abroad in Barcelona. The only thing he learned was “café con leche merci beaucoup.” Yes, the last part is not Spanish, and his flavor palette expanded as much as his vocabulary).
“Wow, someone read the menu ahead of time.”
“I really didn’t. I just know you are particular so I thought I’d throw some ideas out.”
“She definitely read the menu,” my dad says to my sister.
Why am I defending myself?
Our waiter rattles off a few specials, we ask for recommendations, and the amount of dishes we should order. The waiter says that main plates take about 30-40 minutes to prepare, and we immediately nixed that idea. Waiting? Nope, we don’t do that. Ready for our order?
One order of brussel sprouts
One order of flat bread
One order of shrimp
One order of baked goat cheese
One order of lamb meatballs
One order of a cured fish special
One order of patatas bravas
Two orders of pasta (large not small) because we couldn’t agree on one.
My dad wanted a pasta with chicken, chorizo and cockles. My sister and I wanted one with lamb and goatcheese (we like goat cheese duh).
“What are cockles?”
“It’s pasta,” my dad says.
“There is no way it’s a type of pasta. I’ll look it up,” I say.
“Let’s ask the waiter.”
“Excuse me, what are cockles?”
“I knew it!” said my dad. No he didn’t…
Dishes came out a few plates at a time. The flatbread and brussel sprouts arrive first. The brussel sprouts are standard; the flat bread was crunchy and crumbled into pieces when you tried to rip off a piece, my sister and I were not into it.
“This is pretty good,” chomp chomp, my dad says.
I was tired and didn’t have much to say so I let my sister take it away for this round, and once she starts talking about Columbia she doesn’t stop. She once spent ten minutes discussing the address of the school she worked at, and the driving route she took to get there (snoozefest).
Sidebar: Lets be real, whether it’s finance, social media, public relations, or education, work is boring. I’m sorry it is. It’s called “work” it’s not supposed to be fun, and if you do actually like your job then everyone will resent you for it anyway so keep your mouth shut: unless you love your job and make no money, then whatever.
I did however perk up when we discuss how my sister could use her love of cheese as a teaching method for kids with pronunciation issues.
“Mozzarella, muenster, goat cheese, gouda, swiss…”
“So many kinds!”
Meatballs arrive: good, but the cucumber the meatball sat on needed more crunch.
Fish special: tasted like miniature brunch dishes, cured fish (if that’s a thing), and lentils that looked like capers.
“I have to do this…so they like me here…this person gave good advice…I have this lesson plan to do… this is challenging…the content doesn’t get covered all the time…social studies…this is below average on spectrum…I took the bus with my metro card”
“Rates are goin’ up on that,” my dad chimes in.
“You took the bus?”
“I did, but it was too much traffic, so I got out and hailed a cab.” Now that’s my sister.
Shrimp dish is ok, but the oil it swims in is good for dipping with bread. The baked goat cheese is actually a bowl of tomato sauce with hot goat cheese in the center that you spread on bread (boom, best dish we ordered).
Now that the goat cheese dish has woken me up, let’s talk about something I’m interested in. Perspiration.
My sister and I were blessed with my dad’s horrible perspiration gene, and it never gets old discussing it.
“I don’t sweat that much!” my dad says. For the record until the age of 18, I didn’t know that a. not everyone sweats bullets from dancing at a bar/bat-mitzvah before the candle lighting ceremony and b. that not all guys smell that way after playing basketball. True Story.
“It’s not ok for a girl to sweat.”
And since I pre-gamed with my sister and her friends this past weekend in a small converted one bedroom in Murray Hill (oh, wait I live in one of those too), with raging 22 year olds, I was reminded of how uncomfortable it is to actually sweat surrounded by a group of people, while also trying to be the cool older sister (not easy, I tell you).
My dad’s favorite thing to tell me is how I can’t party like I used to.
“You faded real fast.” It’s true, I can no longer pound shots, but there are also no more pictures of me on Facebook with my eyes rolling to the back of my head.
Pasta! My sister and I like our pasta better than our dad’s, but he insists that his is better, and when my dad insists on something he gets louder and enunciates his words.
Should we get dessert? Why not?
My sister says she doesn’t like the way it jiggles. “It’s like a weird jell-o.” She’s so expressive.
“So I heard I’m not getting a ride back home?”
“Oh, your sister told you that already?”
“Yep, so you’ll pay for my cab fare right?”
“Yeah, what is that like $10?” What a sport!
“More like $12.50. You can just give me a 20.” Doesn’t he know? The fares went up.
Salinas (Coles y Colifor: brussel sprouts, green cauliflower, citrus yogurt & pimenton de la Vera)
Maybe this multicolored veggie plate is a trend right now, since this is the second time in two weeks I’m seeing it, gotta say I don’t love it. Dish needed more brussel sprouts in my opinion and more of the yogurt sauce. I was thinking it’d be like the brussel sprout dish at Alta…I was very wrong.
Salinas (Crujiente Mahones: flat bread, Majon cheese, honey, thyme & sea salt)
Mixed reviews on this! I wanted something that was less crunchy and more bready. My dad couldn’t get enough of it!
Salinas (Montadito: Colorado lamb meatballs, pickled cucumbers, tomato sofrito & Spanish toast)
Only 3 per dish, so minimal guilt for this order, because I only ate one, and it was served on a cucumber! I try to forget that meatballs are made with breadcrumbs. Really good!
Salinas (fish special)
Sorry, they didn’t give me a description for this! I really liked this! It wasn’t overpowering or super fishy. It reminded me of smoked fish they serve on a brunch platter, but you know, without the bagel.
Salinas (Gambas Al Ajillo:sauteed shrimp, wild mushrooms, garlic, guindilla pepper & parsley)
This is a very standard shrimp dish I see on tapas menus. I don’t really like shrimp served this way, but my dad and sister wanted it, and I knew they would want to dip the bread in the oil/sauce. It’s an easy dish to order if you’re not into cured meats or a tapas beginner.
Salinas (Queso Al Horno: baked spanish goat cheese, spicy tomato sofrito & Spanish toast)
It was my favorite dish we ordered! It was also freezing in the restaurant so it warmed me right up!
P.S. My sister’s loved the name, obviously, horno, horny. Her favorite movie character of all time is Alota Fagina, so you get the idea.
Salinas (patatas bravas)
I almost always order patatas bravas whenever I go to a tapas restaurant. I feel like it’s a sign of a good tapas restaurant. These were different in that they were diced small, and they were good, but I don’t know, they weren’t the highlight of the meal. I don’t think you need to order them.
Salinas (fideos pasta, braised lamb shank, wild mushrooms, seasonal greens & goat cheese aioli)
I have never heard of goat cheese aioli, and I think it was the best part of the dish mixed with the lamb. A little mushy but we finished it.
Salinas (Rossejat Rapida: fideo pasta, all natural chicken breast, fava beans, chorizo, cockles & saffron alioli)
It looks good doesn’t it? This was the “large” portion. For large it isn’t so large. It was ok. This was also sort of mushy in texture, and reminded me of the macaroni you get in Easy Mac.
Some people don’t like flan. I’m not one of those people. My dad felt the need to say “boy, you like flan,” 3x to me while I was eating. He’s rude.