NYC Spanish Food: Chorizo & Chocolate-Dipped Churros at Despana

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There’s been a lot of love for Spanish tapas lately but did you ever wonder where you could buy all those delicious meats, cheeses and desserts and have tapas at home? The answer is Despana, a Spanish specialty food shop in SoHo on Broome Street between Cleveland Place and Lafayette Street. Walking through the store past a multitude of free samples, you’ll find a counter serving up authentic bocadillos (sandwiches), snacks and desserts. Did the chorizo sandwich impress? How do the churros compare to the traditional American version? Read on to find out…

It All Started as a Chorizo Factory

Despana was founded in 1971, in Jackson Heights, Queens, as a chorizo factory servicing the restaurant industry. This location still exists, as a wholesale and retail shop. In 2006 the SoHo retail location of Despana, which we’re reviewing today, was opened.

It Looks Good, But Did It Impress?

This $8.50 hot pressed sandwich is comprised of four ingredients: Despana Brand Chorizo, sliced manchego cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a Grandaisy Ciabatta. On their own, each ingredient is high quality and delicious, but together, they lacked the marriage of flavor and texture I was hoping for. The namesake chorizo is grilled before being sandwiched, but it wasn’t grilled long enough to create the crispy, caramelized edges I’ve grown to enjoy in most chorizo tapas dishes. More char on the chorizo would elevate this sandwich.

The drizzle of olive oil was a nice touch, blending into the light, airy crevices of the warm and crisp Grandaisy Ciabatta. If I’m back at Despana, I would opt for another sandwich, perhaps the spicy Picante ($8.50) featuring “chorizo picante, sliced Mahon (cow’s milk) cheese, piparras (Basque spicy guandilla peppers), sliced fresh tomato, and aioli. Check out the Bocadillo section of Despana’s website or Serious Eats NY for some other suggestions.

Are Churros Better at the Amusement Park?

Sadly, I have to say “yes.” If you’re expecting anything like the churros you’ve had at the zoo, the amusement park or at Cinnabon, then you’re in for a world of disappointment. Despana’s churros are made fresh by squeezing a frosting decorator filled with batter directly into hot oil. Unfortunately, an order of four ($3.50) arrives unsweet, overly crispy and sprinkled only with sugar, no cinnamon.

Chocolate Dipping Sauce Anyone?

One would assume that in the history of culinary vernacular, the term “chocolate dipping sauce” has never disappointed. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Despana’s chocolate dipping sauce ($3.75 with 2 churros) was thin and tasted like orange-flavored hot chocolate. It did nothing for the already underwhelming churros. I found out later that this was the replacement chocolate dipping sauce, Despana had run out of their standard, Chocolate a la Taza. This Spanish chocolate bar is broken up and mixed into simmering milk to create very thick chocolate dipping sauce. Without chocolate a la taza, Despana’s churros are not worth buying. I’ll still continue my churro with chocolate dipping sauce hunt, however. Next stop: Barrio Chino, on Broome St. between Orchard St. & Ludlow St.

Bring the Tapas Home

As I mentioned earlier, Despana is here to provide you with tapas at home. Click on the tapas section on the left side of their website’s and view individual menu items, photos included.

Despana

408 Broome Street b/t Cleveland Place & Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-5050
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 11AM-8, Sun. 11am – 5pm
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54 Responses to “NYC Spanish Food: Chorizo & Chocolate-Dipped Churros at Despana”

  1. pepperman Says:

    pure genius once again food guy

  2. Jack Says:

    That little snadwich for eight bucks?? Doesnt look filling. I actually made it down to the LES Sunday and hit Caracas for an Arepa, was actually pretty tasty, but not all that filling. Ever been NYCFG?

  3. MattSilv Says:

    Looks amazing. The chocolate dipping sauce really seals the deal. I must try this place. Thanks Lawrence!

    P.S. Have not forgotten about talking… am busy getting ready for the move on December 1st. Let’s talk soon.

  4. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Pepperman,

    Thank you sir. I do what I can.

    Jack,

    I have not been to Caracas, believe it or not, but I’ve heard great things all around. What did you get? What will you get if you go again? I agree with you on the value of this sandwich, in the grand scheme of NYC sandwiches though, the quality of the meats, bread and cheese make up for the price even though you can get an Italian hero twice the size at Faicco’s for $10.

    Matt Silv,

    Thanks man. If you go there and get the churros, make sure they have the Chocolate a la tazza, because if they’ve run out, it’s not worth getting.

  5. Sweet Freak Says:

    I’m admittedly not a Spanish food or tapas kind of girl. But…

    Check out Bar Carrera (Houston & Macdougal) for chorizo sandwiches. And Five Points has churros with Mexican hot cocoa at brunch… the perfect accompaniment to dulce de leche french toast.

  6. Phil Says:

    WOW man I don’t know how you do it. This looks DELISH! Are there a variety of other sandwiches? If so, did any catch your eye? mmmmm churro…..

  7. FN Says:

    NYCFG, I just visited Despana last week and had the same sandwich. Enjoyed it a lot. Would also like to try something a tad spicier on my next visit.

  8. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Sweet Freak,

    That all sounds amazing, particularly the dulce de leche French Toast. When will we see that on your site?

    Phil,

    Ha thanks buddy. There are several other sandwiches to choose from and you can also mix and match. As I mentioned in my post, I would go for the spicy Picante next time.

    FN,

    I went to Despana about a month ago and just hadn’t posted it. After seeing your post and remember I had the churros pics, I thought it was time to get it up. Better late than never. So the sandwich underwhelmed you as well? I don’t forsee myself running back there anytime soon, I’ll be honest. I’m intrigued to try the $25 Iberico Ham sandwich. I read it puts Parma prosciutto to shame.

  9. BBQ Says:

    About Bagels:
    You mentioned something the other day about not being able to find good bagels in NYC now that Dunkin’ Donuts is in the bagel business, and so I did some research for you. A friend of mine who owned 14 bagel stores in NYC and LI tends to agree with you about the sad state of bagels in NY, and he made his recommendations as follows. If you like “big, fat sweet bagels” (as I do), then Essa Bagel (on 19th & 1st) would be among the best. Otherwise, you might try Columbia Bagels on the Upper West Side, or Tal Bagels (the one on 88th & Lex. is the expert’s top choice). Check it out and let us know what you think….
    BBQ

  10. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    BBQ,

    Thanks for getting back to me on that. I’m glad to see I’m provoking some thought out there, puts a smile on my face.

    My top bagels in the city can be found at H&H, East (2nd b/t 80-81st) & West (80th & B’dway). That’s as much a result of the fact that they’re serving fresh bagels 24 hours a day as it is a result of the fact that I haven’t been to many of the places you reccomend, with the exception of Ess-A-Bagel. The only knock on H&H UWS is that they charge $1.60 for a naked bagel and they won’t even slice them for you if you buy cream cheese in the display case.

    There are several Ess-A’s in the city, are the bagels all the same at each location?

    I’m going to have to check out Tal & Columbia. Thanks for the reccomendations.

    What’s your food background? From looking at your name, I sense asking you about BBQ might be a great starting point for a new conversation. What are you favorite BBQ items in NY?

  11. Before Sunrise Says:

    I LOVE churros, but have never found one that I liked as much as the ones sold at fairgrounds, etc. Let us know if you find one.

  12. FN Says:

    NYCFG, the sandwich didn’t underwhelm me per se, I enjoyed it. I could use a bit more spiciness in the sausage, though.

  13. Howfresh Says:

    Let me preface this comment with a major PAUSE. That sausage sandwich looks delicious. Now I’d like to follow that with a PAUSE.

    In re bagels- I didn’t know Columbia Bagels still existed. Last I knew they were on 110th and Bway but were forced out due to the luxury high rise that was recently finished. Those bagels were great. Especially late night. Lightly toasted plain with cream cheese and a slice of tomato. Buttahs.

    One of the better bagels places in the whole NYC is Bagel Corner in Riverdale on 235th St. near Johnson Ave. My family has been getting them for 20+ years and they’ve remained consistent. Not too big, but always with a great crust and a chewy/semi doughy inside. Always order plain, lightly done.

  14. kristen Says:

    ok guyz i know its a monday nightt but i just got back from joshua tree for my girls bday and what do i come home to seee?? ChURROS!! i could go for like 10 churros right now and i’d still be hungry omgz i’m starving and i don’t want to order any greasy food that i’ll regret eating in the morning ahhhhhhhhhh nycfg why do you do this to me!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Phil Says:

    You should try having 1 and not 10. 10 is completely unnecessary 🙂

  16. kristen Says:

    i wasn’t talking about 10 at the same time phil you sicko! i am NOT jenna jameson or whatever her name is!

  17. Phil Says:

    hehe, that was funny Kristen 😉

    NYCFG, i understand that its expensive, but do you review steakhouses?? I’m really curious as to which steakhouse is the best among the standards (lugers, wolfgang, smith & woll, etc.). Not asking for you to spend your life savings reviewing the food but have you heard anything?

  18. foodie Says:

    nycfg, need to know best thing at sophies asap as im ordering for lunch!!!

    btw kristen, i absolutley love Joshua Tree!!!!

  19. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Phil,

    I appreciate the steakhouse question regardless. I wish I could eat steaks all the time. Some places that consistently pop up among people’s favorites are: Wolfgang’s, Ruth’s Chris and Del Frisco’s. I don’t personally have a favorite, however, beggars can’t be choosers.

    Foodie,

    Never been to sophie’s but check out Midtown Lunch’s Review with a bunch of photos.

  20. foodie Says:

    thanks nycfg, but had to order before i saw the post. got the steak and onions with rice and black beans. steak and onion=horribe. rice and beans=amazing(not for the people who sit next to me, heheh.)

    anyway thanks for the link, but i cant trust any other blogger than the food guy. please review soon.

    Kristen, have you ever been to Tonic? omg! if you like joshua tree, you will love this place!!!!

  21. kristen Says:

    omgz its almost lunchtime for me i can’t wait to get out of here! nycfoodguy, u got me craving funnel cake from this review!!! everytime i think of churros i think of funnel cake, where can i get some good funnel cake for lunch!?

  22. Sweet Freak Says:

    NYCFG,

    I am gone the next two weekends, but will make it a priority to dip into Five Points’ dulce de leche french toast upon my return and post on the inevitable deliciousness.

  23. Phil Says:

    It’s seriously amazing the FG doesn’t get paid to do this. He seriously gets people to try things.

    Maybe us readers should treat the FG to a meal of his choice? Thoughts?

  24. Jack Says:

    Uh oh, looks like Kristen had a late one again last night, and yes I am keeping tabs on you. Which Joshua tree did u goto? I was at the restaurant row one on Sat night.

  25. Jack Says:

    Oh, and NYCFG, i had the A-8, was delicious http://www.caracasarepabar.com/menu_gal_arepas_pabellon.html

    next time i may go with the A-18 La de Pernil

    On my travels Sunday I also had the Crab slice from Artichoke on 14th street, from what I hear this place has crazy lines all the time.

  26. Phil Says:

    dude artichoke on a friday or saturday night circa 3am means a 25 minute wait for pizza! that pizza is fantastic though..

  27. kristen Says:

    jack, i was at the murray hill j-tree obvs! that’s the only j-tree i know of — where are there others? do they blast awesome 80s music that me and my girlies can rock out to all night? seriously — 80’s music — absolutely loves it! i love going to pizza 33 right down the street from the tree after i leave, but its soooo expensive! i’ve had phil’s cheesesteaks a couple times—that’s not your place, is it phil?

  28. foodie Says:

    man kristen is the best. how do you party and eat so much and still have time to blog!!

  29. Jack Says:

    Hmm, never been to the east side tree. That family owns the 2 NYC trees, one in boston, Tonic in midtown, and the 2 Mercury bars.
    Not sure if the Westside one rocks out to old school Duran Duran though, Sat was sports night with the World Series and Penn State games on.
    Check it http://www.joshuatreebarnyc.com/
    Cant wait for more of your late night food crave messages…

  30. Phil Says:

    Hey Kristen,

    Did you mean to say phil’s cheesesteaks? If so, nope, it’s not mine (i wish!).

    NYCFG – I guess nobody took me seriously about treating you for a meal…. oh well 🙂

  31. kristen Says:

    yayyy i got out of work earlyfor once!! just walked in the door and i am def ready to start DRINKING!! i was going to take tonight off, but wtf, you only live once!

    phil, i made a boo-boo, i meant to say carl’s cheesesteaks, woops! have you been there?

    jack, duran duran is one of my faves! please tell me you like them too?

  32. foodie Says:

    hope you dont think this is creepy kristen, but where ya drinkin tonight? i was thinkin about getting some long island iced teas myself.

  33. Phil Says:

    kristen – I’ve been to Carl’s several times. They actually have one in Yankee Stadium (not sure if the new yankee stadium will maintain their relationship with carl’s). I’m no expert on cheesesteaks but it was fairly good. I bet the foodguy could tell you where to get the best one..

    I should be getting out of work pretty soon and will probably go to happy hour. This weather stinks!

  34. kristen Says:

    omgz i am so hungover at work right now its ridiculous! at least its not raining though. ughhhhhhhh

    food guy– what are the best foods and beverages to cure a hangover?? please help!!!!!!

    a foodie — you CREEP!!! hehe, jk jk….how old are you and whereabouts the city you from?

  35. Phil Says:

    Kristen – I don’t know how you do it. I like to go for a bacon egg & cheese on a buttered roll (with a side of hash browns) when I’m hung over. You need some greasy food to fix you right up… oh yeah and lots of coffee!!!! Hope you feel better.

    -Phil

  36. Jack Says:

    That a girl Kristen!

  37. foodie Says:

    im 23 and live on the upper east side. dont come stalkin me now, hehehe. i would love to live in murray hill but a little to expensive for me right now.

  38. Phil Says:

    Jack – you shouldn’t encourage her….

  39. kristen Says:

    omgz you guys are too funny! what’s everybody being for halloween?? are there any good drink/food specials going on friday? food guy — where are you? i asked you about hangover foods earlier and you never got back, wtf!? jk! but really, where are you?

  40. Jack Says:

    Wow, she’s on fire again, thinking there was a liquid lunch somewhere along the way

  41. Phil Says:

    There must be some good halloween food specials, no? Kristen did you get rid of that hangover with a BEC (bacon egg & cheese)? Coffee?

  42. AG Says:

    Great to see you found this spot. I’ve been lazy and have not posted my review for a few weeks. Aside from the sandwiches they have these amazing little flautas, not the fried ones like at Mexican restaurants, but more mini sandwiches with a variety of fillings. Highly recommend them as well as the Spanish Tortilla. Good stuff.

  43. foodie Says:

    best breakfast to cure hangover: lemon lime gatorade with two alka seltzer in it, a grapefruit, hash browns, a cup of coffe and a vicodin. stick to this it works everytime.

    as for halloween, mcfaddens has great specials and has to be one of the craziest bars in the city. my boy bartends there so ill pretty much drink for free which is always great. anyone interested should come on down, it should be wild!

  44. kristen Says:

    ogmz phil i had eggwhites and toast with a dunkin donnuts ice coffee to get rid of my hangoverr yesterday but i ahve a feeling i’m gna be a liiiitttltlle hungover tomorrow too and wantinng something else. speeeakkiiiiiing of whiiiiich i would loooove some of those bacon wrapped hot dogss nyc food guy posted before but halloween is on friday i HAVEE TO BE SKINNY!!!!!!!!! which means NO EATING BACON HOT ODGS!!!!

    ughh work in 7 hours why do i do this to mysefl!!!!!!

  45. Phil Says:

    sooo.. what’s the status kristen?? Hung over or what? Did you try foodie’s hangover cure? Sounds like it might actually work!

  46. kristen Says:

    i’m in bad shape right now guyz. love lemon-lime gatorade tho foodie, and hashbrowns. a vicodin though!? that’s my kinda guy! maybe you can make the journey down to murray hill one of these nights and see if you can keep up with a real drinker! 🙂

    where the heck is the food guy!?

  47. Phil Says:

    hmm not quite sure a vicodin is a smart move when you’re going to work.

    What’s everyone having for lunch today? I think i’m going to get some Sushi.

  48. Jack Says:

    I think the best hangover dring is the orange stuff from McDonalds.

    I work in the wintergarden so they had a food fair today, had 2 PJ Clarkes sliders, Teriyaki skewer from Yushi, and cheesecake from Financier.

    Someone check the local hospitals for NYCFG, I think all the burgers may have taken their toll.

  49. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Jack,

    I’m alive and well but I appreciate the concern. Keep the great comments coming I’m loving the dialogue everyone’s got going. This is why I started this site, to create productive food conversation.

    I actually have some prepared food for lunch today, chicken meatballs and farfalle with pesto sauce. Keeping it unfried for once in my life. What did everyone else eat for lunch?

  50. Phil Says:

    My colleagues vetoed sushi so we agreed upon chinese food. I had a chicken w black bean sauce with pork fried rice. Was actually pretty good!

    I already have dinner on my mind though… any suggestions anyone?

  51. chow cow Says:

    me too… anyone know a good chitlin place?

  52. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Phil,

    Where do you live, that’s what I’ll base my dinner reccomendation on…

    I deleted a couple of stupid comments earlier and since yours followed those, logically, they made no sense without the deleted comments… I saw what you wrote though, doesn’t go overlooked… Thanks

  53. Phil Says:

    Fair enough.. I live in the East 20’s….. I think i’m in the mood for some mexican tonight…. What are you doing for dinner tonight food guy?

  54. East Village Mexican: Skirt Steak Tacos, Tilapia Tacos, Unique Guacamole, and Perfect Churros at Mercadito Cantina « NYC Food Guy Says:

    […] only other churros I’ve tried in Manhattan are the not-sweet-enough version at Despana and those of the Churro lady in Union Square.   Regardless of the competition, I know my churros […]

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