Boqueria Soho is the spacious new outpost of the decidedly smaller Flatiron district tapas joint, named for a food market in Barcelona and beloved by Times critic Frank Bruni for its "charismatically bustling, remarkably warm scene." The second location keeps the warm vibe while more than doubling in size, with room for 70 diners in the 2,300-square foot room. But the focal point here is the open kitchen, which is surrounded by a 12-seat chef’s counter made available to walk-ins only. (Plus WiFi for the antisocial!)
Though Grub Street endured some "tapas torture" the other night when a "mouthwatering potato omelette" was set near the hostess stand during a long wait for a table, in theory you should be able to wander in and grab a seat court-side to watch the cooks bang out specialties like the Cojonudo (bite-sized toast point with house-made chorizo and a sunny-side up quail egg). Other eye-catchers on executive chef Seamus Mullen's menu include Datiles con Beicon (dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeon cheese, wrapped in bacon) and Paella Valenciana (Bomba rice with prawns, mussels, clams, cockles, house-made chorizo and chicken).
Boqueria Soho, 171 Spring Street, (212) 343-4255. Open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight, offering breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, as well as cured meats and cheeses to enjoy in-house or to take-out.