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East Village/ LES >
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Posted by Jose from NYC on 09/04/2012
Late last year my wife and I were in the East Village looking for a Galician tapas and found Nai. It was a Saturday afternoon, in between meal times, and the place had few customers. We sat down at a high stool table, looked at the decently priced wine list (mostly Spanish and Argentine good wines), ordered some tempranillo, and we proceeded to tackle some pimientos de piquillo stuffed with cod (to die for), some grilled sardines (delicious), some exquisite cod croquettes and then, la piece de resistance, octopus Galician style (sauteed in olive oil and with pimentón/paprika: just like in Galicia). At $5 to $6 for a tapa or about $11 for a ración (double the size of the tapa), food of this caliber is a steal when compared with trendier or faux-upscale similar establishments catering to Catalan or Basque tapas in the West Village. The best way to appreciate Nai is to sit in your high table, have a bottle, let the tapas flow, and see and absorb the young atmosphere. And so we found ourselves returning to Nai several times. Last night, we visited again for the pimientos de piquillo stuffed with cod; croquettes of goat cheese wrapped in jamón serrano (delicious); meatballs in brandy (quite tasty); grilled chorizos (just as it reads, which left us wanting next time for the chorizos in an onion sauce and chorizo in cider), and toppled with a desert of fresh lime-laced strawberries stuffed with custard (exquisite). It is heartening that we still have so many items in the menu to work through..... What brings us back to Nai? Is it the young and low-key atmosphere which seems so true to form to tapas places in university towns like Santiago de Compostela? Is it the warm and attentive treatment at the hands of the owner or the genial attendant from the Basque country? Is it the high quality Galician tapas that are thoroughly authentic, like back in Galicia, without contamination or "adjustments" to fit "what the NY market would expect"? I don't know (but who's asking?) One think for sure: the way the owner and his co-owner chef constantly and solidly deliver the goodies, I don't think that I will have to worry for a while about high-priced debatable experiments involving chorizos toppled with mango and cilantro, just to appear hip. Nai delivers what is truly needed in NY: a real, authentic tapas place from Galicia, authentic to its roots in food and ambiance, all for very good value. Keep it up, guys! We´ll be baaaack!!
Posted by Shauna L on 08/29/2011
Went here for a dinner meeting. Service was great, server was extremely attentive and friendly. I recommend getting the sangria, it was delicious! Tapas were great too- patatas alioli was divine, croquettes were amazing, actually all of our tapas were delicious. I will definitely be going there again. Oh, on Thursday there is flamenco dancers that perform at 8pm!