Last week, ex-Boqueria chef Franco Barrio opened his (for now, at least) BYOB tapas joint in the old Da Andrea space at 557 Hudson Street. The menu skews traditional, with tapas standbys like papas bravas and all manner of cured meats, but predictably, the masses are championing the booze policy. BYOB is always a great way to get asses in seats, and Barrio's pedigree is certainly a plus, but will the food keep said seats ass-full? To the early word:
The Note so Great News: From the tipline: "Walked by last night and saw that they were open, so decided to have a bite. They could have designed it a bit better. Food was ok until we got to the hanger steak. Everything was just thrown on the plate like staff meal was being served. The lamb bacon sandwich was good. Lamb bacon? Must have taken that idea from Boqueria, along with half of the rest of the menu." [Eater Tipline]
The "Great, but Probably a Shill" News: Yelper Tamir G. has a rave, "What a treat. I would have to say the finest Spanish cuisine I have eaten in a while. Officially opening 11/2/10, I had the privilege of attending the pre-opening festivities and tasting what Caliu has to offer. I'm not exaggerating when I say the best Sangria in the city accompanied with the tastiest tapas and paella around. With exemplary service and top notch food this place is a must try." [Yelp]
The "Very Good" News: Menupages commenter Mitchmurr was surprised they had their act together this early on, "Came in a couple of days after it opened so we were expecting things to be a bit "new" and disorderly. It was slightly but the staff was very on top of our service, all with a nice downtown smile so we enjoyed it a lot. The simple plates are very good quality for the price. The Lamb Bacon sandwich was excellent as was the Pork Tenderloin. Cheese and Meat tapas were good but nothing inordinary. The Paella was very good but the portion was small for the price. As of this writing it's BYOB so that is fantaastic. We would go again and do rcommend". [Menupages]
The "Try the Dates" News: An Eater commenter can't get enough of the dates with bacon, "Caliu's datiles con beicon have officially made it onto my death row meal wish list. Phenomenal!" [ENY]
The "Twitterific" News: Beavis H. Presley recommends it as a date spot, "Took my GF for bday dinner of killer tapas and paella at #Caliu, just opened in west village" and Jessica N. Bowers likes it enough to send her friends, "New tapas place in the West Village..Caliu- HIGHLY recommend!"