Of The Week
Try A Taste of Spain At El Boqueron
For a unique dining experience, treat yourself to a taste of sunny Spain at El Boqueron, conveniently located on the corner of 31st Street and 34th Avenue in Astoria. El Boqueron specializes in Spanish tapas, small dishes of tasty fish, shrimp, meat or vegetables that are perfect for sampling and sharing with friends and family.
El Boqueron adds the bonus of a quaint, dignified dining room, with white tablecloths and soft candle glow to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere in which to enjoy a great meal. In addition, there’s fabulous, fruity sangria, wines and cocktails and excellent service. Owners, brothers Miller and Gonzalo Bermeo, run a tight ship and offer consistently superior dining, with Gonzalo supervising the kitchen, and Miller overseeing every detail of the dining room. You’ll feel very welcome at El Boqueron.
The beauty of dining the Spanish way is that you can sample several different types of food, all in the course of the same meal. Now is an especially good time to visit El Boqueron, since a special "de Gustation" menu is being offered which includes six varieties of tapas for two, homemade dessert and coffee for just $30 per person.
El Boqueron is named for their signature tapa. Tiny, fresh anchovies (not the canned, salty kind), are marinated in garlic, olive oil and vinegar and served on slices of fresh Italian bread. Next comes a platter of imported Spanish white asparagus, tender and tasty, topped with a chardonnay vinaigrette dressing to cleanse the palate and prepare for the next course, a platter of plump cremini mushrooms stuffed with cured Serrano ham, vegetables and seasonings, served in a pool of fragrant asparagus sauce. With each new tapa, plates are replaced and the professional waiters cheerfully refill your glasses with sangria. Then comes one of my favorite dishes: tender shrimp with a rich garlic sauce that begs to be soaked up with crusty bread. Sound good? We’re only halfway through. The next two dishes are the stars of the show. Fresh, flaky tilapia filet, a warm-water fish, is sautéed with fresh herbs and lemon till it’s crisp on the edges, then topped with toasted, slivered almonds. This dish will melt in your mouth and is often requested as an entrée by the steady clientele. It doesn’t end there, though. Baby rack of lamb encrusted with Dijon mustard and garlic, then cooked to absolute perfection and topped with green peppercorn sauce follows for a one of a kind treat. Fried potatoes and fresh broccoli accompany this dish.
That’s the special El Boqueron de Gustation menu, prepared for two, at just $30. per person. However, feel free to order any of their tempting dishes a la carte. The menu also features tiny quail grilled and topped with a delicious fruit sauce, accompanied by tender vegetables. There are also tender veal medallions in a sauce of three mushrooms, accompanied by fresh cuts of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. It’s so much fun to eat this way, without having to commit to just one menu item. Diners also can sample seafood, meat, and even traditional tortillas, a frittata of potatoes and eggs. You’ll savor the chorizo, Spanish sausage cooked in Rioja wine. There was plenty to share. Pulpo a la Gallega is a tender stew of octopus and seasonings, prepared exactly as in Spain. Grilled shrimp with sea salt is another one of my favorites. Another trip to El Boqueron is inevitable.
If you prefer to enjoy a complete entrée, there are plenty to choose among, including the most famous dish of Spain: Paella Valenciana. Replete with chicken, seafood, peas and saffron-infused rice, this dish will satisfy a hungry couple. Lobster in green sauce or sea scallops with asparagus sauce are other excellent choices.
After dinner drinks and dessert wines are part of every dinner in Spain. A premier wine-producing country, Spain produces delicious port and Muscat wines. El Boqueron serves these chilled with one of their incredible desserts. We enjoyed the light and cream crema Catalan with a baked caramelized glaze. Gonzaloís apple tart is layered with paper-thin slices of apples in a delicate crust. Remember, dessert and coffee is included in the price fixed menu.
El Boqueron is open six days a week for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays, except for private functions. There are lunch specials during the week and dinner only on weekends, from 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays. Make your reservations now for Mother’s Day, when they’ll start serving at 1. For a unique and superior way to dine, I urge you to visit El Boqueron soon. You’ll love the food, the intimate dining room and the great service. Credit cards are accepted so bring some friends and sample the cuisine of sunny Spain.
31-01 34th Ave