Friday, May 18, 2007

Paella Bargain in Newark

Who knew that you could get good paella in Newark? My job recently took me out there to do some work for a company located in the downtown area. I stayed at the Hampton Inn on Passaic, which happened to have a sign advertising tapas from the Spanish Pavillion Restaruant on their bar one night while I was trying to figure out some place to eat. It was right around the corner from the hotel, on Harrison St., so I figured I'd go ahead and give it a try. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

Their tapas menu wasn't all that impressive, so I decided to go with the paella valenciana instead. Now I'm what you could call a "healthy eater", so I'm not usually daunted by the portions you get in a typical restaurant. The paella that arrived at my table, however, was a beast of epic proportions. It arrived in a full-size dutch over; for a second I thought that there must have been a mistake and they had brought the "paella for two" by mistake. I think that I finished maybe half of it, at most.

And it was a well-executed paella as well. The rice was well executed and served with a pleasantly lemony broth; you'd be surprised at the number of times I've had paella where the rice was just not that well done. But what was most impressive was the number of species they used to garnish the rice: mussels, clams, scallops, lobster (yeah, lobster), shrimp, squid, chicken, pork, and chorizo. It was a veritable zoo... I honestly don't think I've ever eaten that many different animals in a single sitting.

The best part was that the entire dish cost $20. Highly recommended.

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