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Las Ramblas

Tapas are tricky. I love the little morsels, but I'm averse to the little rooms that usually go along with the package. It's not like I'm accustomed to large open spaces in NYC, but tapas in particular seem synonymous with long waits and being squished. Um, and I have my own issues with bar stools: one, my balance is horrendous, I feel like I'm going to topple over, and two, I have a fat ass, at least fat enough to mush over the sides of many stools' tiny circular tops.

I shied away from Tia Pol for ages because I thought it would be a nightmare, and it wasn't at all. Las Ramblas is more how I envisioned Tia Pol to be, if that makes any sense. Not a nightmare by any means, but bedroom-sized with a handful of nearly touching tables. When I arrived there were actually two spots open, but they wouldn't seat me without my dining companion so I waited the four-stooled bar. Of course, the place filled up in mere minutes and when James showed up we just ate at the bar because there was no telling if anyone was ever going to leave (we were asked if we wanted an open table about half way through, but we were already established where we were).

We didn't go wild with ordering, just four items, and pretty basic ones at that. Everything was likeable, but perhaps a notch below the dishes we had at Tia Pol (I'm only using them for comparison because it's the most recent tapas experience I've had, though it wasn't all that recent).

Simple gambas. There was something almost Caribbean about the preparation. Instead of simply sliced garlic, it was like they'd used a sofrito.

I'm scared of mayonnaise but love patatas bravas. And I never thought I'd say this, but these potatoes could've actually used a touch more aioli.

Albondigas, plain and simple.

Serrano and idiazabal. I could eat this ham and cheese all day.

Las Ramblas * 170 W. 4th St., New York, NY

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