BY Lisa Lindblad
July 23, 2013
CATA, my new favorite Spanish restaurant in lower Manhattan, is a delightful find. Easy on a summer evening, this is a tapas spot with all the delicious bites you would expect from the country of origin: slices of iberico, pan tostada with delicious fresh tomato salsa, grilled peppers with sea salt, prawns, chickpea fritters, grilled wagyu. It’s all wonderful, particularly when accompanied by one of the inventive gin and tonics from their long list of choices or a glass of pale Provencal rose. One of the stars of this family styled restaurant is the fact that the high table top is cut in to squares that slide along tracks, providing a modular set up that gives you your own table to dine at.
In Japan, Ootoya is a chain of restaurants that offers single female diners tables only downstairs or upstairs, but not on the main floor. Not so in their large and airy space on West 18th Street where, by 6PM, the majority of the tables are bagged by families with babies, single diners and couples — all Asian. The chef is very good (although my companion did not feel that his mackerel had been prepared properly) and the menu diverse and extensive. And inexpensive. Try a mini don of salmon and salmon roe over sushi rice accompanied by miso soup, custard and picked vegetables, all for $12. Can’t be beat.