Restaurant Of The Week
By Teresa Barile
Meet The Flavors Of Spain At Café Salamanca
by teresa barile
Step into the garden-like dining room at Café Salamanca and you’ll feel as if you’re on one of the wonderful patios prevalent in Spain. Owner Justo Seoana has owned Café Salamanca, located on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, for 16 years. He modeled his comfortable restaurant after the many cafes in his native town of Orense, in the northwest corner of Spain known as Galicia.
Stucco walls are adorned with scenes from sunny Spain and accented with wrought iron coach lamps and hanging plants lend an outdoor feeling for diners sipping on a glass of freshly made sangria. The well-dressed, professional staff will cater to every need and Justo is always around to oversee the dining room and kitchen. Lots of friends and locals gather at the cozy bar to enjoy a cocktail or wine after work and before dinner.
Paella, a dish practically synonymous with Spain, is prepared in such traditional varieties as Valencia, with chicken, sausage and rice, or Marinara style. The latter is simmered with a melange of fresh seafood, including a whole lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels and scallops. Saffron-infused rice, peas and red peppers makes this a complete and satisfying meal. All dishes at Café Salamanca are prepared to order, and paella takes about a half an hour to prepare. It is well worth the wait.
While awaiting your entree, pass the time in sampling one of Café Salamanca’s delicious appetizers or soups, such as the seafood soup. This creamy, thick soup is chock full of clams, mussels and asparagus and is delicately seasoned ($6.25). My favorite is the shrimp swimming in a delectable garlic sauce that demands to be soaked up with the light and crusty rolls brought to your table and in a clay crock. Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup that is particularly refreshing in the summer months. A freshly tossed salad of artichoke hearts or asparagus vinaigrette will tingle your tastebuds as your entrée is being prepared.
In addition to the varieties of paella, Café Salamanca offers plenty of meat, chicken and fish dishes. Veal Salamanca is tender veal prepared with mushrooms in a savory brown sauce. Whole lobsters are available every day on the menu, and a special twin lobster special consists of two whole lobsters for about $28. All entrees are served with Spanish rice or potato and vegetable. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the broiled seafood combination for $18.25 and includes clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and a lobster tail, broiled with melted butter. Fresh fish of the day such as hake, is prepared Basque style ($14.75). Landlubbers can order tender, juicy filet mignon with mushroom caps or thick cut pork chops, broiled to order for $12.75.
Café Salamanca even has a separate, private party room with its own bar which holds up to 60 people. The newly painted and decorated room would be a great venue for an event, such as a graduation, confirmation or anniversary party. Call Justo for details.
Café Salamanca is open for lunch as well with plenty of reasonably priced lunch specials. Visit on a Saturday night and you’ll be serenaded by soothing guitar music while you dine. Great food, wine, music and service at Café Salamanca... OLE!