El Quijote Restaurant
226 W. 23rd St.
New York City, NY
By Jane Feehan
Stardust and nostalgia lure most to El Quijote, an old-time Spanish dining spot opened in 1930. It’s hard to imagine Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan or Sid Vicious stopping in for a meal - much less party at this sedate place - but stories abound about the hotel’s famous guests at this eatery.
Timeless murals of bull fighting and other scenes from the book of adventures of the man from La Mancha (Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, 1605) line walls of El Quijote. The décor appropriately complements a menu of Spanish dishes such as paella, camerones plancha (grilled shrimp), Red Snapper Vizcaina, lobster or steaks.Tapas serve as starters or small meals at table or bar.
We dined on succulent lobster, and seafood paella, crispy salads, tasty soup and finished it off with flan. Good, not memorable, but we – as do many others - will stop back for more tales from the bartenders and hope to feel (maybe see?) the ethereal presence of rockers and writers long gone. Let’s hope El Quijote remains once the hotel reopens with a mostly new face and interior.
Reservations suggested, "casual neat" dress code.
For transit directions, visit: http://hopstop.com
*Hotel Chelsea was built in 1884 as a cooperative apartment building. At the time, it was the tallest building in New York City. It was designated as a New York City landmark in 1966 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Its architecture, Queen Ann style, is noted for interior and exterior wrought iron accents. Because Hotel Chelsea is a historic place, the developer will have to preserve some architectural aspects of the building. Among its list of notables guests are Bob Dylan, Arthur C. Clark, who wrote part of 2001: A Space Odyssey while there, playwright Henry Miller, poet/singer Leonard Cohen, writers Dylan Thomas and Thomas Wolfe. Sid Vicious murdered girlfriend Nancy Spungen at the hotel in 1978 room 100.