El Colmado
 
 

Bringing small Spanish plates to the midtown lunchtime grind

By Claire Carusillo

Answering the prayers of countless midtown office workers—or anyone suddenly finding themselves starving and alone amidst the midtown skyscrapers—the Gotham West Market is a beacon of hope in Hell’s Kitchen, offering a dozen reasons to forgo the sad salad or soggy hummus wrap that all-too-often passes for lunch. And of all the vendors at this stylish food hall, El Colmado is by far the most upscale. With snappy service and superb Spanish-style tapas, this bustling counter is the kind of place where one can pop in and out of for lunch or make a night of it at dinnertime.

Most of El Colmado’s sharable snacks and bites are straightforward standbys, but in the expert hands of chef Seamus Mullen, these familiar flavors are quite welcome—craved even. Just the right sprinkle of sea salt brightens the fried shishito peppers in the pi-mientos; a suggestion of saffron presents itself in the aïoli used to fry the thumbnail squid in the calamares fritos. In the croqueta de jamón, a jelly membrillo, made from the heart of a quince fruit, adds a tangy sweetness that nicely complements the ham’s smoky-salty profile. And while El Colmado’s bites are meant for sharing, hunkering down on your own with a few plates is a simple and satisfying way to sample all the complex flavors this little counter in Midtown has to offer.

hours

Mon–Fri noon–11 PM; Fri–Sat noon–midnight

price range

$9 (calamares fritos) to $23 (jamón Ibérico)
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