Restaurant Review: Real Madrid

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As a belated Hanukkah gift to his parents, Todd took us all out to dinner this weekend during our visit to Staten Island. Regardless of the complaints one might have about the borough—the ferry is inconvenient, the tolls are expensive, the waters seem unsafe to swim in—I have to say that the food is delicious. Usually we choose to get our favorite meatball, onion, and ricotta pizza from Denino’s, but since we’d had Italian cuisine the day before, we opted instead for Spain-inspired seafood at Real Madrid.

One of Real Madrid's three dining rooms

One of Real Madrid’s three dining rooms

The restaurant’s interior boasts old-world charm and a cozy feel, with a brick wall and three intimate dining rooms. There’s plenty of space on the tables, which is good, because you should expect to receive plenty of food! The menu includes appetizers (think mussels, clams, shrimp, stuffed scallops), entrees, vegetarian specials, combination dishes, and desserts. Prices range from $18 for dishes like grilled chicken breast with mushrooms and pork chops broiled with pimento, garlic, and sherry wine to $40 for lobster tails in garlic sauce. Service is fast and servers are incredibly friendly, continually filling up water glasses or clearing away plates no longer needed.

First course salad

First course salad

We started our meal with a delicious stuffed scallop appetizer that I forgot to photograph. It sounds a little gross when I describe it: chopped scallops, crab meat, shrimp, and other sea creatures stuck together with a buttery sauce. But, trust me, I could have eaten a whole plate of it as my meal if I hadn’t wanted lobster so badly.

Next, we enjoyed our entrees. Each came with either a soup or a salad. Though Todd opted for the escarole soup, I went with a classic house salad that featured tomatoes, onions, and a gingery dressing. It didn’t blow me away with flavor, but it tasted fresh and I enjoyed it. The entrees are served with a plate of rice, a plate of broccoli, and a plate of giant potato chips for everyone at the table to share. The best part? The sides are all unlimited, so you can order as much as you’d like! Unfortunately, since we’re all trying to watch our weight after the holidays, we didn’t take quite as much advantage of this option as we usually do. Here’s a photo of the chips:

Delicious chips, with part of my meal and part of Todd's meal in the background of the plate

Delicious chips, with part of my meal and part of Todd’s meal in the background of the plate

For her meal, Todd’s mom ordered a one-pound broiled lobster, served with a cup of butter for dunking. I would have taken a photo of it, but lobsters that look like lobsters freak me out, which is why I opted for the more expensive but much more photogenic lobster tails in green sauce. Todd’s dad chose the same entree, whereas Todd chose a seafood paella. Both his paella and my lobster tails had great flavor, but I would personally choose my meal over his every time because I felt that the rice overpowered most of the seafood in the paella dish.

Seafood paella

Seafood paella

Served atop half a lobster, the paella featured yellow rice mixed with scallops, baby shrimp, mussels, clams, grilled chicken, sausage, and tomato. Don’t be fooled by how little food there seems to be in this photo; the entree also came with a whole separate pot that contained enough paella to feed another two people. The scallops, juicy and soft, melted in your mouth. The baby shrimp were plentiful and tasty, and the roasted tomatoes literally bursted with flavor. I enjoyed the sausage, though we only found three small slivers in the entire paella. I didn’t taste the clams or mussels, though Todd seemed to like them well enough. Our one real complaint was the chicken, which came in a giant chunk and seemed dry and uninspired compared to the seafood in the dish.

Lobster tails in green sauce

Lobster tails in green sauce

Last but not least: my lobster tails in green sauce, a mixture of sherry, onions, parsley, and garlic. Again, this dish came with a separate pot filled with at least five more lobster tails. The tender meat peeled easily from the shell and tasted really delicious when dunked in the sauce, which managed to achieve tanginess, sweetness, and butteriness all at the same time. I filled up on only four lobster tails and shared the rest with Todd, especially since I also had rice, chips, and broccoli on the side. Though we didn’t opt to get dessert on this trip, we’ve gotten it before, and I would definitely recommend the tartufo. It’s actually an Italian dessert featuring ice cream covered in a chocolate shell, but Real Madrid executes the dish really well and it’s a great size to share among four people.

Even if you don’t live on Staten Island, I would recommend making a trip to this restaurant if you’ve ever got the time to spare. But if you do, make sure you get the lobster, because that’s really what this establishment is known for. Plus, it’s completely worth it for the price, so you can’t go wrong!

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