Is El Colmado Butchery The Best Restaurant In The Meatpacking District?
Here's the thing about the Meatpacking District: as far back as I can remember (late nights at Florent in the 1980s), it's always been a cool place to walk around, with that great industrial architecture and those cobble-stoned streets. Even as it filled up with high-end boutiques, chain stores, ridiculous clubstaurants and other unappealing nightlife options, there was still plenty of sensory pleasure to be had just by wandering these beautiful old streets. And recently there's been a bunch of good news coming from the neighborhood, especially for those of us who like to eat, drink, and, of course, look at art, including openings of the fantastic new Whitney Museum; the festive (and apparently delicious) Mediterranean restaurant Santina; the crowd-pleasing (though way overpriced) Bubby's; and a few months ago, the excellent, meat-centric El Colmado Butchery.
Seamus Mullen's El Colmado Butchery
Created by Seamus Mullen of Spanish-tapas hot-spot Tertulia renown, El Colmado Butchery follows a similar template to the similarly-named El Colmado (with no "Butchery") in Gotham Market up in Hell's Kitchen, and serves some of the best meaty small (and larger) plates I've had in ages. Best of all, perhaps, if you want a casual place to grab a beer or a glass of wine and either a snack or a meal, but DON'T want to either spend a fortune or deal with hordes of spray-tanned tourists, the Butchery is a chill, comfortable spot with good music that fun without being frantic. If you live nearby, Butchery also offers to-go meals, and there's even an actual butcher counter at your disposal.
What To Eat at El Colmado
The food at El Colmado is terrific, at least judging by the four dishes I had the other evening, all of which were big winners. The whole Butchery menu looks appealing, but if you're eating dinner (or lunch) and not just grazing, the must-get here is the spit-roast chicken, available as a half or whole, and pretty much the most intense, amazingly flavored such bird I've ever had. The price is an incredibly reasonable $9 or $16 for a half or whole, respectively, and is reason enough to dine here. More snacky but just as good was the Embutidos platter of three Spanish cured meats, which on this night meant heavenly slices of mortadella, chorizo, and some sort of salami. Again, the price, $15, is remarkably low given the generous portion and the neighborhood in which you’re dining. For my tapa I went full-fish with the superb Tosta Matrimonio, a two-bite bit of bread topped anchovies, roasted tomato, and cheese; and one of the specials that day, a wonderfully funky Lamb Tenderloin Tartare with crispy farro, quail egg, and–key ingredient–horseradish.
For Menu and More Information on El Colmado
El Colmado Butchery is located at 53 Little West 12th Street, just west of Washington Street, and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 12:00 midnight.