I’d place Caliu in a lengthy list of restaurants tucked somewhere in the West Village that I’d likely never know of unless (1) I were still dating someone over there or (2) they jumped on the latest trend and popped up on one of the numerous deal sites/mailing lists. This time, it was the latter. Usually their brunch is $25 per person, and includes an entree and your choice of unlimited sangria, mimosas, or bloody marys. With the special though, it was $25 for two people. Deal.
Their website gave us the impression that they didn’t accept reservations for smaller parties, so we opted for plan B – getting there when the opened to land a table. Usually this works with even the craziest of restaurants. However, we were greeted by a hostess who didn’t agree.
She pursed her lips and looked back up. “Reservations?” We nodded no. She sighed, flipping through the list of the “haves” for emphasis. “Well, fine but you can only stay until 1. Then we’ll need the table back,” she said, emphasizing the word back as if it were an attempted slap. We meekly explained the website wasn’t clear reservations were an option. C’mon. We’re the reservation girls. I’m the Open Table Queen. Seriously! Anyhow, we were finally permitted to sit down in the dining area, where after all that struggle we found ourselves in the middle of a sea of empty tables. Oh irony. We were brought menus and mimosas appeared soon after, served in tiny glasses that made me think they were aiming to force cardio on their servers.
Their menu was pretty interesting. After reading a bit online and reviewing the choices, the no-brainer option for me was the chorizo sandwich, prepared with spicy chorizo, fried egg, and salsa verde, which was served with truffled hash browns and a salad. Once I’d de-runny’d my egg, I really liked the dish. The chorizo had been formed into a standard sausage patty shape, but with the distinct bold flavor of chorizo. I knew from the moment I first tried it in Spain I’d found a new lifelong friend. It was on the heavier side though, so if I had it all to do over, I’d make reservations and eat more slowly – that’d solve all problems.
My friend had their grilled cheese – which was prepared using thick slices of bread and equally thick slices of cheese. I’d have a hard time resisting the grilled cheese if I were to return back. It just looked so darn good.
In the end, the server nicely allowed us to stay as long as we wished, eventually moving us over to a high-top table in the bar. Which was fine. More than fine. Perhaps it was a disconnect in approach. The hostess just needs to get on board. If I go back, it would be to try their tapas which we did not get to experience. Always enjoy the chance to compare a restaurant’s jamon serrano (delish).
Caliu Tapas – 557 Hudson Street (b/w W. 11th. & Perry St) – 212.206.6444
Reservations (Obviously) Recommended