759 Farragut Pl
West New York, NJ
We went to this restaurant, at the former location of The Lighthouse restaurant by The Galaxy condos off of River Road (near Edgewater, just north of the Lincoln Tunnel), on Thursday night. I was unsure whether to post on eGullet yet because the food was excellent but we ordered wrong and had a bad experience start out the night, too. This being that the parking was a real hassle. They have a lot, but there was a wedding in their upstairs room and there were no spots and the valets didn't seem to be in the mood to park for us! Because of the way the restaurant is situated, there really is no place to park except in their lot. It was ridiculous, but we eventually parked and went in. I was glad we put up with the hassle as we entered the warm, nicely decorated, comfortable dining rooms. Live music in the bar area was good but too loud. Anyway the food.
The owner and the chef are both Dominican, and the menu reflects this type of spanish food. We ordered Arroz con Mariscaras (sp? mixed seafood), which is their version of paella, and Asopado de Camarones ("shrimp with fluffy rice", a stewy soup). Both were excellent, but the problem was with the timing. The cooked-to-order paella took about 45 minutes, and we didn't order any appetizers, and we were hungry, big mistake. We should have ordered soup and/or salad and/or appetizers and split the paella. It would have made more sense by giving us courses, and the paella was big enough to split if we weren't completely starving by the time it came. I wish our waiter would have advised us better on this. Anyway enough complaints.
The paella may have been one of the best versions we've ever had. Really. It was an incredible mixture of seafood consisting of the expected: shrimp, clams, squid rings, mussels, lobster, scallops and the unexpected: crab and the squid legs. In addition to the seafood, there were also slices of sausage, which was very complimentary to the seafood; usually a seafood paella doesn't have the sausage. Anyway, all the seafood was excellently cooked, the mussels seemed to be the larger New Zealand variety, the squid was tender, the lobster was a whole tail, and the crab was a surprising and welcome addition. What was also welcome was the fact that there was actually very little rice for a paella, it kind of clung to the seafood along with a handful of olives and some slices of red pepper, but there was no layer of rice and peas underneath all the fish like most paellas. The price for the paella at first seemed high (ฮ), but the quality made it worth it.
The assopado (ย) was good too, very comforting (as I'm still trying to get over a cold), but not what I remember as assopao from Puerto Rico. We left some of that over rather than have the paella suffer the indignity of being reheated. It featured very large shrimp, but in addition to them there were smaller shrimp which hid in the broth to be discovered later. We finished all the larger shrimp and some of the soup, but took the ricey broth & small shrimp that was left home. (The leftovers were delicious with some leftover chicken added.)
* The waiter told us the name means lighthouse in Spanish.