With your kitchen's paella pan and wine glasses inhabited by the evil spirits of dead rice and grapes, cooking Spanish meals at home has become both time-consuming and spooky. Get quality cuisine without interference from crazed kitchenware with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of fine Spanish fare and drinks at Cocina Latina Bar and Grill, located down the street from the Queens Courthouse in Kew Gardens.
Pick up a few small tapas-style plates, such as chorizo al vino tinto (sausage sautéed with onions and red wine, $8) and camarones encocados (coconut shrimp with orange dipping sauce, $8) and pass them around the table, sharing the experience like a drum circle. After the communal service, stake your claim on one of the menu's 11 hearty entrees. For a traditional Spanish dish, opt for the paella Valencia: chicken, chorizo, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, and octopus (small $20, large $36). Or, side some yucca cheese fries ($5) with the arroz con pollo (slow-roasted chicken in sofrito sauce with rice casserole, greens, and sweet plantains, $12).
Cocina Latina's house wines (red or white) are $6 a glass, so ask your server for the current vino. Or, cool tonsils with a classic piña colada ($8) while the earthen tones and smooth lines in the dining room cool eyes hot from watching too many Internet videos of dancing hotdogs. The chicly clean space has tiny tables along the wall, high ceilings, and elegant fleur-de-lises crawling like caterworms along the warmly lit walls. Ample parking is available nearby.
Five Yelpers give Cocina Latina three stars:
At Cocina Latina, executive chef and owner Chris Dreams brings together culinary specialties from the world's Latin countries. He pays homage to traditional Spanish cooking with arroz con pollo, a dish that gains its flavor from a secret sofrito sauce known only by the chef and his spoon. To showcase the popular dishes of Central and South America, Dreams prepares fresh salmon ceviche, meat-stuffed empanadas, and Cuban-style mini burgers. Dreams' primarily old-world menu complements the dining room's rustic ambiance. Darkly stained wooden tables line up along sandstone-colored walls that reach to high ceilings with dimly lit chandeliers.