Europeans have always looked to the New World for fruitful frontiers: the pilgrims sought religious freedom, The Stones sought a bigger audience, and Beckham sought people who'd make him look like he could still play soccer. For guys looking to blow their tapas up on this side of the Atlantic, eat at Circo Barcelona.
The first US venture from two Italian guys who also run popular joints in Barcelona and Milan, BC's a narrow tapas spot tucked into CocoWalk (across the hall from Victoria's Secret), echoing Spain with a rustic pub-ish feel via cobblestone floors, earth tones, and a raftered ceiling, all contrasted with an industrial bar whose lines're so smooth, you'll have no choice but to sleep with it. The menu stays mostly Spanish-Med and traditional, with time-tested lighter fare including soups like cold gazpacho and warm creamy cucumber; cold tapas like Spanish chorizo, marinated garbanzo beans, and celery root, citrus & capers; and salads like the Malaga, with mixed greens, chicken, pesto, cranberries, and pine nuts -- pricey little ingredients that makes chefs wish their wallets were evergreen. Less-small small plates come in the form of beef tenderloin Carpaccio with shaved Parm and CB's ceviche with salmon, tuna, sea bass, and shrimp, plus hot tapas like empanadillas stuffed with serrano ham, Manchego cheese & caramelized onions, and Pincho Moruno, a kebab of marinated roasted pork loin with paprika and cumin, a spice that, in the Middle Ages, was said to keep both chickens and lovers from wandering, making it doubly great for holding onto truly hot chicks.
There's also a full bar with plenty of Cognacs, single malts, and grappas, as well as cocktails like the the Ibiza (muddled limes, sugar, and mint leaves w/ apricot brandy and prosecco), and the Maracaibo, with vodka, rum, gin, Amaretto, sour Mix & Pepsi, whose four different kinds of booze'll get you bent enough to think that Bending It Like Beckham doesn't have to do with underwear ads.