226 West 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
New York, NY 10011
In ordered to celebrate Greg’s birthday, it was decided that there would be a dinner at El Quijote. Since the dinner would be later following the end of the work day, Mike and I met up for a pre-dinner drink to whittle away the time.
Me: Do you have specials?
Bartender: Yes, we have specials [points to list of speciality cocktails].
Inner monologue: No happy hour? What kind of a bar is this? Bar fail.
I ordered the white sangria because it was the closest cost to a happy hour special. Mike wasn’t too thrilled with his martini, but the white sangria I sipped was fine and doing its job well. The drink menu is pretty extensive, and I noticed a $100 pitcher of margaritas available. Yow.
Mike and I sipped our drinks by the coat check until our entire party arrived. Diverse crowd. I entered with an elderly lady using a cane and her family, and two young women were in the same dining room as us. Popular place for birthdays, heard “Happy Birthday” three times during the meal. The decor is notable in that you’ll certainly notice it. It’s kind of like Chili’s, Spanish-style in that there’s lots of junk on the walls.
Our large party was regulated to a not-as-crazy back room which was basically empty. And it had lattice on the ceiling. The waiters were outfitted so that they sort of resembled bellhops.
The menu was diverse, and it seemed like that there was an option for everyone. I finally settled on the Mariscada Ajillo, mixed seafood in garlic sauce for $20, after forgoing the other mixed seafoods because I didn’t know what green sauce and quijote sauce were. So yeah, the menu could use some more descriptions. Every entree came with a choice of soup or salad, and another choice of various sides. That night, you could pick from rice, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, or broccoli. The salads appeared first, and the waiters brought out three different dressings (two sets of three, if you want to be more precise) which must be convenient for them instead of repeated the dressings over and over after asking what dressing each diner wanted especially since 90% of us got salads. The salad was fine. The dressings were an oniony dressing, salty but yummy blue cheese, and an Italian style.
The baked potato was standard. The mariscada ajillo was terrific though. Usually when you order seafood at a restaurant, it’s always two tiny pieces of ocean dwellers, but here, I got numerous clams, shrimp, mussels, and scallops. If you look at the image above, the silver pot is also full of shelled goodness. Too much food! It’s incredibly rare that I have food to go because I’m too stuffed. El Quijote delivers bang for your buck, I must admit. And they were really kind to split the checks for such a large party (NYC can be really awful about that). And they had free matchbooks.