BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
Flor de Sol had come recommended to my boyfriend and me by several people as an excellent date spot that was reasonably priced and had good tapas. A fixture in the New York City dining out scene since 1997, it is pretty safe to say that Flor de Sol has stood the test of time and that 12 or 13 years is a pretty good run for a restaurant in New York. However, after dining at Flor de Sol, I can’t really understand how it has lasted so long.
After the rather rude hostess reluctantly sat us in the more than half empty space without a reservation, we were greeted by our waiter who told us that the Sangria was indeed what we should order to drink. We tried the small pitcher of their red wine sangria which was tasty, but I found myself not wanting to step up to the challenge of trying to finish off the whole pitcher as it was a little too sweet for my taste.
Our waiter rushed us along to choose our tapas for dinner, which was a feat in itself – the menu nearly impossible to read in the dimly lit space (at 23 I doubt that my eye sight is failing me THAT much). We ordered the churrasco ($13), a grilled skirt steak over toast, the Pulpo Diablo ($13), octopus in a spicy tomato sauce, and the crab cakes which were on the specials menu for the night, served with a brandy sauce.
Our food came out a short time later, in surprisingly large portions for tapas. In particular, the two crab cakes which, on their own, could have been a meal for one. The crab cakes were certainly edible, fried to a crisp with too much filler and not enough lump crab meat, but I was transported to a county fair instead of a semi-posh Tribeca restaurant with the quality of the cakes.
Four pieces of skirt steak came out atop a grilled piece of white bread. Although tasty, it would have been a nice accompaniment to the meal, instead of the best thing we tasted.
Since it’s one of my favorite things to eat, we saved the the pulpo, or octopus for last. The nearly inedible octopus was slimy and over cooked and was swimming in a sweet tomato sauce that could have easily come out of a jar. Needless to say, we were disappointed and shocked as this was the first time I had not enjoyed octopus.
The highlights of the night were the couple next to us, who were obviously on their first date and the live music that helped to transport me out of New York. I really wanted to like Flor de Sol. The atmosphere was romantic and cozy, the live music enthralling, and the menu descriptions appetizing, but unfortunately the kitchen just didn’t deliver.