UPDATE: Pata Negra is now CLOSED :(
Last Friday night I met a friend at this wonderful little Spanish tapas restaurant called Pata Negra at 345 East 12th Street in Manhattan. She happens to love sherry, as do I, and so we specifically made a date to go out and drink it. It's not always easy finding another sherry aficionado (especially one who is fun to hang out with!) nor is it easy to find a good sherry list in a Manhattan restaurant! Many people assume sherry is sweet and not something they would drink alongside a meal. In reality, most sherry is dry and goes really well with many kinds of food.
When I walked into this cozy, candlelit restaurant, I sidled up to the small, 4 seat bar and was immediately welcomed by a waitress who introduced me to the owner, Mateo. I noticed how both his and her eyes lit up when I asked to see the sherry list. From that moment on, I was in the hands of Mateo, who is a treasure trove of information on wine, and particularly sherry. He offered to do 2 ounce pours so we could sample many different sherries and, before the night was through, he was giving 1 ounce pours from some of his private stash!!
While waiting for my friend to arrive, I started off with two different Manzanillas, an Orleans Borbon and an Equipo Navazos, which were quite different in style but both equally delicious. Sipping these sherries made my appetite come alive so I ordered some spiced olives and marcona almonds to nibble on while Mateo explained to me the complexities of the Tradicion fino he had just poured me. The evening continued on like this when my friend arrived and we ordered more food, such as a delicious thinly sliced mangalica jamon which came with bread, olive oil and tomatoes. We continued with the garlicky shrimp with pimento and, of course, more fantastic sherries… finos, amontillados, olorosos. When it was time to leave I felt like I had spent the evening at a friend's home sampling a wonderful collection of special wines!
Next time you are in the mood for Spanish cuisine, you must try Pata Negra. In addition to one of the best sherry lists in NYC, they also have a wonderful selection of Spanish wine, beer and even sangria. And the food!! You will enjoy authentic Spanish cuisine, including many Spanish jamons and a variety of other tapas as well.... yummy. Salud!