Bread, garlic, wine. Divine.

With so many new restaurants opening in Greenpoint, it’s becoming hard to think of a cuisine that hasn’t already been covered. But modern Spanish is, surprisingly, something we’re lacking, and something which El Born (651 Manhattan Ave) looks set to do very well.

Taking its name from a hip area of Barcelona, El Born is run by Barcelonian Elena Manich, and has chef Diego Gonzalez (previously of Socarrat Paella Bar) in the kitchen.

The menu is fresh and original, lending classic Spanish ingredients a bold contemporary edge.

Starters include cod fish collars with squid ink ‘allioli’, goat cheese croquettes, and paper thin filet mignon, artichoke and manchego on bread.

Main dishes get inventive and feature stone grilled octopus, Hudson Valley foie gras, chestnut flour crispy rabbit, and quail in spicy chocolate sauce.


There are also some great vegetable plates, such as a fresh and zesty fennel, anchovy and orange salad (delicious) and a ‘coliflor gratinada’, a warm and comforting cauliflower cheese made with manchego.

Coliflor Gratinada

I especially loved the gesture of complimentary fresh toasted bread accompanied by a clove of garlic for rubbing, good olive oil for drizzling and a bowl of fresh tomato pulp for spreading over the top.

The wine list includes a good selection of cava and sherry, whilst the cocktail list features not one but four types of gin and tonic, along with a blissful sounding ‘Spanish hot toddy’: Felipe II brandy, quince syrup and lemon juice.

The interior is simple and attractive, with a long communal bar-style table stretching through the middle of the restaurant (along with beautifully designed bar stools) and more intimate tables at the back, beneath a rather spectacular neon lighting feature. Little paraffin lamps flicker throughout, giving a delicious warm glow to the place.

El Born is nestled just a few doors down from Calexico and offers a rather wonderful alternative when you occasionally fancy something other than a baja fish taco.

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