December 4, 2008
I just learned that one of the absolute most incredible hidden gems of NY is in danger of closing. La Nacional is a wonderful little restaurant in the basement of the Spanish Benevolent Society in Chelsea. Though from the outside it appears to be only open to members, the restaurant is actually open to everyone and serves up and incredible array of paella, wonderful tapas, and delicious Sangria. There is an elegant dining room and a more casual bar area that is always filled with sleepy old Spanish men who sip wine, play cards, and watch futbol games on the small bar TV. It's the kind of place where you walk in and instantly feel as if you've stumbled upon a secret you weren't supposed to know about.
Unfortunately, the benevolent society has encountered some financial trouble and are in danger of shutting down. If they go, the restaurant goes too--along with the incredible paella and atmosphere.
Tonight they are holding a benefit to try to keep the doors open. For a donation of $50, attendants will be served unlimited paella, sangria, tapas, and live entertainment. I know it's last minute, but if you're wondering what to do for dinner or drinks tonight, I would urge you go get a few friends together and go. You'll love it. I promise!
For more info visit http://savelanacional.org.
239 W. 14th Street, NYC
(between 7th and 8th Ave.)
P.S. Even if you don't want to take my word for it (although you *should*!) Serious Eats Ed Levine calls La Nacional "The best & Quirkiest Spanish Restaurant in NY."