Newark, NJ 07105
- Opened: 2015
- Cost: $$
- Credit Cards: All Major
- Alcohol: Full Bar
June 24, 2016
Casa d’Paco brings Galician-style tapas to Newark’s Ironbound.
When the kindred spirit behind Eat the World NYC suggested we get together at a Spanish spot in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, it was the perfect opportunity to try a restaurant that has been on EthnicNJ’s list of places to try for a while. Away from the Ferry Street crowds, Casa d’Paco is a casual restaurant and bar on a residential street half a block from Independence Park.
The owner Angel and the chef (his father Paco) hail from Muros, Spain, a Galician fishing town facing the Atlantic Ocean. Not surprisingly, fresh seafood dishes are a highlight at Casa d’Paco.
The menu focuses on small plates. Don’t miss the Galician-style octopus (pulpo a galega), grilled simply with olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. All the tapas we tried – homemade chorizo, almond-filled dates wrapped with bacon (dátiles rellenos de almendra y bacon), ham and cheese croquettes (croquetas de jamón ibérico), and pork cubes (pinchos morunos) – are excellent. Menu items change often. Recent tapas specials include chipirones da casa – squid grilled with onions and cherry peppers, and zamburiñas a galega – in-shell baby scallops stuffed with serrano ham, chorizo, and onions.
There are a few, larger plate, fish, chicken and beef dishes. The main attraction, however, perfect for sharing, is the Paella Casa d’Paco, a Galician rendition of the Spanish signature rice dish, studded with whole shrimp, lobster, mussels, clams, chicken and chorizo. Our group of four people devoured it eagerly.
The narrow space, the width of a row house, feels like a local tavern in Spain. The busy bar, with screens tuned to soccer whenever possible, is flanked by tables for dining. An affordable, Spanish-focused wine list has numerous by-the-glass options, as a tapas bar should. Casa d’Paco exudes a family feel. In fact, the owner lives upstairs. Turns out, Angel was our exceedingly knowledgeable bartender. No wonder his tapas recommendation were spot on.
Jared Cohee, an intrepid global traveller (and avid soccer fan), is on a quest to find food from every country within reach of the five boroughs of New York City. He periodically ventures to this side of the Hudson. I regularly visit Eat the World NYC to see where he’s eating in Jersey. You should too.
Jared and a couple friends were headed to a Red Bulls game after our meal. I would be happy to linger at Case d’Paco before, during, or after any match.