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Thursday, February 29, 2024

#PeachysPicks #Alcala A Peachy's Pick Since 2012 Winter 2024 #Founder #ExecutiveChef and #Owner #JesusMartinez Sizzles Your Winter with Garlic Shrimp, Peachy's Favorite!!! 246 East 44th Street Manhattan

Founder, Owner and Executive Chef Jesus Martinez and Sam Martinez, his son
Not everywhere has wine where the owner's face is on the bottle....

If you want to see God with your tastebuds, look no further than 246 East 44th Street because the Founder, Executive Chef and Owner of Alcala goes by the same name: Jesus Martinez. Born on Easter Sunday, Jesus Sunday Martinez surely must have been disappointed when he came to America and found his April 20th birthday had a totally opposite meaning. Chrismas is in your stomach every day here when you order the garlic shrimp- certainly our favorite- and it seems like it just came down the chimney on Christmas eve and is just that sizzling!

Alcala made its debut on Whom You Know so long ago in 2012 when it became a Peachy's Pick, and we are pleased as punch to return.  In 1986, Jesus Martinez came to Westchester, New York from Spain and opened Alcala in the early 2000s on East 46th Street.  In 2011, Alcala moved to 246 East 44th Street where there are 60 coveted seats inside and 20 more outside.
The classy, old world atmosphere is brought into 2024 with the exciting menu selections that define fine Galician cuisine. Alcala is even better with the addition of Sam Martinez, Jesus's son and third of four children.  He graciously greeted us the moment we walked in and seated us right away.  His manners are among the best we have seen in Manhattan restaurants and hats off to his service: he was a 3rd division Marine Diesel Mechanic in California.  
We started at the top.
This is New York!
Gambas al Ajilo - Shrimp in a sizzling garlic sauce, is in a word: perfect.
Sizzling is an understatement: check it out in action.  Flavorful to the max, this garlic shrimp is a must in your culinary life.  Be certain to mop up all excess with bread because you are going to miss it once it's gone.

Note we never edit pictures.
You win like Jesus, or we do not publish. 
It looks exactly like this in real life.
Albondigas: Beef Meatballs in a Sherry Wine Sauce, hit the spot on a cold February day.  You'll delicately devour the deliciousness as six stand at attention and salute you.  Ensalada Verde is a classic with dressing on the side as we requested, and the freshness found at Alcala you won't find everywhere in Manhattan in the dead of winter.  It's exactly what we are looking for in a salad, an essential component of any meal.  Tomatoes are totally stand-out, marinated in salt and olive oil the right way.
Side dishes discovered at Alcala are also reflective of Jesus's authentic Spanish background.  Scalloped potatoes float in like a dream and the Sauteed Vegetables including squash, asparagus, carrots and green beans underscore the nutrition and goodness in classy and classic Spanish tradition found at Alcala.
Jesus Martinez personally introduced us to each and every one of his fabulous creations, obviously made-to-order.  Another distinguishing aspect of the Alcala excellence is the fact that Jesus Martinez has his own wine since 2019, both Cabernet and Chardonnay:
Avid readers know that Cabernet is essentially Peachy's favorite and this one measured up!
Some owners tell us they have wines made for them, but the visual evidence with the face and name is above and beyond at Alcala!
Don't you feel bad for the next restaurant Peachy goes to and asks about their own wine label and she'll think...but Jesus at Alcala has one!
Trends come and go, but the classics reign supreme.
Canelones de Espinacas y Gambas returns to Peachy's towering height with one of her favorites, SHRIMP, teaming up with Spinach and tomato in an absolutely gorgeous Bechamel sauce.  If you want to eat quiet luxury in addition to wearing it, order this.  
Jesus tells us his many repeat customers make him happy, and when you taste this, you see why they return.
When a restaurant is around for two decades straight, you know they are doing something right.  There are well over a dozen entree selections and deciding what to order is one of life's good problems.  Above, meet the hearty Pechugas de Pollo al Jerez: filet of chicken absolutely waltzing in a terrific light sherry sauce perfectly punctuated with artichoke hearts, succulent Serrano ham, and mushrooms and potato puree.  Every element is in perfect proportion to one another, and it hits the spot on a cold day in this New York winter.
Arroz Confitado, below, has flavorful rice emblazoned with Chorzio Sausage, Chicken, Shrimp, Squid, mushrooms and caramelized sofrito that culinarily confirm that you have just hopped on a plane to Spain and the address is 246 East 44th.  Who knows, maybe Jesus and Peachy are cousins because of the Irish/Spanish genetic connection and the Catholic history.
An enthused diner, Peachy rarely gets full as she paces herself and Jesus said we had to try some of his favorites and we were happy to comply.  His grandmother in Spain left him with both tremendous culinary memories and smashing kitchen skills which you now enjoy.
So, he tells us he likes the omelets and lamb chops.
Specifically under tapas, you will encounter the Croquetas, which his grandmother made all the time.  Olives, eggs, onions, potatoes all team up to make the best Spanish omelet ever, and it's no surprise to learn it's the second best seller after Garlic Shrimp.  The Grilled Lamb Chops, Chuletitas de Cordero, are juicy and delicious.  Pictures speak louder than words.
From the Flan Caramel Custard to the Semifredo de Almendras (Almonds), dessert seals the deal to success at Alcala, and the cappuccino proves to be the perfect companion.
Also, Jesus and Peachy agree that they are at the ideal age of 33 and a half!
Remember that.
Alcala Restaurant by Jesus Martinez is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.
We can't wait to see what they do next!

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