A few days before Christmas we had dinner with my daughter and boyfriend and my 4 year old grandson. We were staying at a hotel near Newark Airport and Spanish Tavern is only 6 miles from our hotel. I had dinner with business associates years ago and had a great time. We ordered stuffed scallops (great) and fried calamare (good) as appetizers and two versions of paella to share. The paella at only $28 is huge and perfect for sharing. They serve soup which is included with the meal at N/C and it's light and delicious.
I'm not a paella expert but to me the rice was over cooked and sticky. I'm used to Asian rice as we eat Thai frequently. The paella come with a half lobster and many clams, mussels, and shrimp. I thought is was ok and my better half thought it was very good. My future son in law wished we went out for Italian or steak. But the cost was very reasonable so no more crying.
But at 9 pm things became difficult. Our waiter who was excellent told us he was leaving. I offered to pay the bill up to that point so he would get his tip but he graciously told us not problem , enjoy the night. But our next waiter did not speak English and things became difficult. Robert was drinking Grey Goose and when he ordered another drink he received a Dewars on the rocks. Hello? Grey Goose is to words and Dewars is one and neither rhymes plus why was the bar tender not paying attention? WE were doing Uber that night and our bar tab easily was exceeding our food bill having enjoyed wine and cocktails since 7:30 pm. We had a difficult time with dessert too asking if they had and sort of celebration dessert as my Grandson's birthday was just a week earlier. We would up with Tartuffo (?). Then we get the bill and two mistake drinks were still on our tab and instead of taking them off he gave us two Johnny Walker Blacks on the rocks at no charge.
It seemed strange that they let a great waiter leave at 9 pm on such a busy holiday Thursday night and replace him with a busboy.
If your very hungry it's a GREAT value but if you want great service I would suggest making a 6 pm reservation and leave by 9 before the great waiters leave for the night.
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