I've been going to El Pote for over 25 years. I live in the city, I work nearby, and at least twice a month I have lunch there we a few Spanish colleagues. El Pote has never let me down and has treated me as an “insider” since day one.
If I go for tapas at the bar, I usually get the stuff peppers (pimientos rellenos), a tortilla de patatas, and/or a portion of serano ham, and with some Tempranillo or great sangria, I go home my merry way. But the lunch menu has to be, by far, the best value-to-quality find in the entire NYC midtown area. Tuesdays and Thursdays is "Paella Lunch Special Day " (at $11.95!). Yet, while paella may be its best known dish, as of lately I have gravitated to the solomillo de cerdo (pork loin). Again, at $11.95, it is hard to believe that such a delicious find can be had in New York. The price just cannot be beat.
However, what keeps me coming back to El Pote, in addition to the good food, are two items: i) The atmosphere of the small bar and dining room, very authentic to a typical Madrilian restaurant of old. It is very quaint and rustic, yet quite functional and by no means dated, and ii) the long time owner, Enrique, who always greets all customers with a warm hello and handshake, and the servers, most of whom have been there as long as I have been going and know the menu like the back of their hand.
My hopes are that El Pote does not succumb to the impossibly high rents of Manhattan, that Enrique never sells it and retires, and that I can keep on enjoying my lunches there for many years to come.