Photo: Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images
The Lady loves tapas. Who knew? When we read Eater's report
that Lady Gaga spent part of New Year's Eve partying in small Spanish bites at Caliu
, the newish West Village tapas restaurant, we had to give her a shout out. Although we hear the singer, who has herself invested in Upper West Side restaurant Vince & Eddie's
, didn't eat much. Slashfood editors went to Caliu when it opened in November, and loved what we ate. So we join Gaga in giving the thumb's up to chef Franco Barrio (formerly of Mario Batali's Casa Mono and Boqueria, two of NYC's hottest tapas spots), not only for his tapas-bar standards such as sliced housemade morcilla, chorizo and cheeses (such as the caña de cabra
goat's-milk), patatas bravas
(fried potatoes crusted with spicy paprika and drowned in white mayo) and dates wrapped in bacon, but for his invented dishes such as tiny shrimp shish kebabs mounted on toast, and a strange paella with ground-lamb meatballs. Caliu is off the map in a West Village backwater many blocks south of the Meapacking District, and it's dark and quiet -- the perfect place for a first date, or maybe a bad romance? By the way, when we were there, Caliu hadn't yet been approved for a liquor license, so they poured complimentary sangria, which not only added to the spirit of the place but also made for a pretty cheap tab.