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Matador Bistro Latino


Note: Matador Bistro Latino closed in October 2008. Yerba Buena Perry now has the space.


Sometimes I pick an unfamiliar restaurant on OpenTable without a lot of research, make a reservation, and take my chances. I’ve done well enough with that strategy, and in any case, it’s usually an inexpensive place, so there isn’t much to lose.

matador_inside.jpgThat’s what we did on Friday night, and we hit the jackpot with Matador Bistro Latino, a Spanish restaurant in the West Village. Matador has been open for about 2½ years, without attracting much critical attention. The neighborhood seems to know about it, though. We found a busy bar scene at around 8:00 p.m., and by around 9:00 the dining room was full.

With tapas priced $3–14 and entrées $14–23, Matador won’t break the bank. We ordered four tapas and a paella to share, along with a pitcher of sangria, and it was plenty. The whole bill for two was around $85, which in New York must be considered a bargain.

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Rice balls (left); Crab cake over rice (right)

The kitchen sent out a plate of rice balls as an amuse-bouche. A crab cake was wonderful, with fresh corn adding a surprsingly effective contrast.

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Beef skewers with chimichurre sauce (left); Pita bread (right)

Beef skewers with chimichurre sauce were tender and deftly spiced. Pita bread was soft and warm, though it didn’t arrive early enough.

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Fried calamari (left); Grilled sardines (right)

Fried calamari was also skillfully prepared, not greasy or oily at all. My girlfriend gamely indulged my request for grilled sardines. Eating a whole fish isn’t for everyone, but I found them delightfully salty and crunchy.

Chicken and sausage paella

We weren’t as happy with a chicken and sausage paella, which we found too greasy, and lacking the spicy “kick” the tapas had.

Service was competent, but the tapas came out a bit too quickly, one after the other. I would have preferred a bit more time to breathe between courses. The space isn’t large, nor are the tables. On a Friday night, it gets a bit loud.

With those minor complaints aside, we thought Matador was a gem. The tapas were excellent, and at the price it was one of the better bargains we’ve seen.

Matador Bistro Latino (57 Greenwich Avenue at Perry Street, West Village)

Food: *
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *

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