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The Feedback on Spanish Tapas Chain Lizarran

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For 21 years, Spanish chain Lizarran has been serving up tapas at locations around the world, from China to California. In additional to a traditional menu, the restaurant specializes in offering patrons the chance to grab small plates from roving waiters, who charge by counting up the number of toothpicks at the end of the meal. With the opening of the chain's first of five planned New York locations, will this new SoHo spot become a dominant Spanish chainlet? On to the early world:

The Affordable News: Washington Square New's Spencer Bronson was more impressed by the $2.50 tapas than the priceier menu item. "I tried a pork skewer, and it was the best $2.50 I've ever spent. The meat was succulently tender and savory, seasoned oh-so-delicately with olive oil and served on a baguette." Meanwhile, Bronson grew tired of the dim-sum-like serving style. "The roving waiters came back several times throughout the meal, which got kind of annoying." [WSN]

The 'Pretty Good' News: Fork in the Road's Sarah DiGregorio decides that the city's newest Spanish spot is "pretty good." Lizarran "fills a niche--the pintxos at Txikito are better, but more expensive and less casual; those at Despana are also better, but the place closes at 7pm and doesn't yet serve wine. And so Lizarran, which has an all-Spanish, affordable wine list, a casual, walk-in atmosphere, and tasty, fairly priced food, is a good option to have around." Praise is distributed to the octopus with potatoes and the sizzling shrimp in a crock. [FITR]

The "OK" News: Goodies First is skeptical about its chainly roots, but finds that it offers a few surprises: "I feared a reliance on greatest hits—brie on the cheese plate didn’t put me at ease—and while a good deal of the printed menu was perfunctory, blackboard specials like carrilladas (pig’s cheeks), morcilla (blood sausage) and callos (tripe) were more adventurous than the tortilla and gambas everyone knows and loves." [Goodies First]

The Bad News: Of the six Yelp reviews, the majority are three stars. Except for Yelper Michelle R., who is "pretty good at food". She has this to say: "I am by no means a tapas expert. But I am pretty good at food. We walked in during happy hour thinking $2.50 per pintxos, not too shabby. But we ended up with a $60 bill for 2 sangrias and 12 bites. Each bite was overwhelmed with cheap bread and it all felt very processed. I was expecting typical things like shrimp in garlic and oil, or the serrano peppers on the menu. But neither were to be found. I really wanted to like the place, but it just fell short." [Yelp]

The Great News: A quick review from Chowhounder gallavh is poor in grammar but rich in praise: "Last night I was in Lizarran, and is really good, the food, the wine, the service, even the price!; so I think that is a good place to enjoy a good dinner. Congrats you guys!" [CH]

The Also Great News: From the single MenuPages review: "I went to Lizarran and everything was perfect. The pintxos and meal of menu were delicious, server funny and the atmosphere so cozy. Ration quality-price very very good. I want to get back soon." [Menupages]
—Zachary Feldman
[photo credit]


45 Mercer St., New York, NY