10 April 2008

Lost City Asks "Who Goes to Spain Restaurant?"


Holy smokes! The picture Eater took to go with my latest "Who Goes There?" column makes Spain Restaurant, a faded relic in Greenwich Village, look vibrant and new. The photographer much have used Klieg lights. Believe me, those banquettes are much more dusty, those painting infinitely more dark in real life.

I go to these forgotten restaurants hoping to be pleasantly surprised with their charm and unsung cuisine. But sometimes restaurants are not talked about because people are just being polite. I don't know where Spain Restaurant gets its seafood, but each piece would nicely double as a doggie's chew toy. Still, that homey little bar is a trip. And, as with the other eateries examined in this series, one feels protected from the nastiness of the outside world once inside the door.

8 comments:

Marco said...

I'll stick to Spanish red and skip the fish.

Carol Gardens said...

I can vouch for the fact that The Spain served pretty good cheap food circa 1980!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Cool, Carol. Good it know it wasn't always that bad.

nycrouge said...

I recently found myself in this time warp of a place and was amazed by its endurance, the florescent lighting, oil stained table cloths, and the geriatric waiters in red uniforms. May it linger on despite its fairly awful food.

BaHa said...

A bit of history: There were any number of Spanish restaurants in that neighborhood in the fifties and sixties. They were not defined by their cuisine, but by their politics. On Fourteenth Street were the anarchist and Marxist adherents. Spain (the restaurant) was founded by Social Democrats.
On a personal note, when you were poor and in your twenties, those free ribs to go along with a half-pitcher of sangria were a godsend. I thought, then, that it was the most romantic place on earth, and I still feel a frisson when I walk in with my boyfriend of twenty-six years (we're getting married next week), and the headwaiter greets him as though he had been there the day before.
Who goes there? We do.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I find it altogether appropriate, Baha, that when I write these "Who Goes There?" items, I receive comments like yours that say "I do!" I would guess that followers of this blog would go to these sweet, dusty places. And notes like yours are what make writing the items so worthwhile: I learn more about the mysterious restaurant in question.

BaHa said...

Friends of mine used to live in Ageloff Towers on Avenue A. Whenever their daughter had a cold, or the flu, the only cure she wanted was mariscada from Spain. We all loved it. Still do, perhaps for what it was, not what it is. And thanks for the kind words, Brooks.

David said...

I love Spain. Have been going there since the early 90s and say what you want, the paella and sangria, not to mention the appetizers that come before you order are well worth it. It is like a timewarp, part of its charm -- I'm just glad it's still there.