Full-on meals are fine and good: Appetizers, mains, dessert — you know the drill. But sometimes you just don’t want all that heaviness and structure. Instead, you crave variety and the chance to casually graze among a few delicious bites.
That’s when you may wistfully think the Spanish have got it right, turning out tapas — small portions, both hot and cold, of their native cuisine. The good news is that you no longer have to travel far to try these tasty plates: Tentempié Madrid Tapas Bar opened in mid-October in Mamaroneck, and word is quickly spreading about its Spanish fare.
“We purchased the business back in January 2019, when it was a pizzeria,” says Carlos Santofimia, who co-owns Tentempié with Fiorella Marco. By summer, Santofimia knew he wanted to switch gears and showcase the cuisine of his native Spain.
He and Marco shut down the pizza joint for two months and set about creating Tentempié, which means “snack between meals” in Spanish. “We did this whole redecoration ourselves,” says Santofimia, gesturing toward the latticed ceiling, walls lined with decorative tile, and long, marble-topped bar.
Photo by Deborah Skolnik
Settle into one of the cozy tables — the eatery only seats 20 — and spend some time poring over the intriguing menu. You can’t go wrong with a cheese board, featuring a nutty, yearling Manchego; a queso de Murcia de vino, with wine-soaked rind; and a smooth Mahon-Menorca, aged 3 months.
Other cold selections include pisto a la yaya, a vegetable medley that follows a recipe from Santofimia’s grandmother, and pulpo a la gallega, a dish of octopus and potatoes that has proven to be a bestseller so far.
If you’re in the mood for something hot (and who isn’t on a blustery winter day?), go for the small, fat links of Iberian chorizo sausage, which arrive in a wee cast-iron skillet. Another winner is gambas al ajillo, five spicy-sweet shrimp glistening with heady garlic-scented olive oil.
You’ll also want an order of pan con tomate (bread rubbed with fresh tomato and garlic) for mopping up every last bit of the wonderful sauces.
No visit to a tapas bar is complete without some paella, and you won’t want to miss it here. The savory yellow rice is studded with a mixture of chicken, shrimp, and plump mussels, and is available as a tapas portion or a main plate for two. If you want to wash it down with a glass of wine, you’ll have to bring your own (no corkage fee), as Tentiempé’s liquor license is still being processed. On a recent visit, churros were on offer for a sweet finale — a small cluster of diners in the corner squealed in delight at their presentation.
“That’s my goal, to become established in the community,” Santofimia says happily. “It’s not a huge menu, but [customers say what] we have is fantastic.”
Tentempié Madrid Tapas Bar
260 Mamaroneck Ave
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