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Spanish restaurant debuts in Williston Park

Paella is a specialty at Sangria 71, a

Paella is a specialty at Sangria 71, a new Spanish restaurant in Williston Park. (August 2013) Credit: Handout

Sangria 71, which co-owner Jose Fernandez describes as “a family-style paella restaurant," has opened in the Hillside Avenue location in Williston Park  that used to house Willy Parkers.

Fernandez's partner in the new venture is his brother, Rosendo Fernandez Jr., who owns two Spanish restaurants (both called Café Español) in Manhattan.

Authentic Spanish food is a relative rarity on Long Island. Paella, the rice dish that is the glory of Valencian cuisine, is cooked at Sangria 71 as it is in Spain: to order, in a wide, shallow, uncovered pan. Paella for one is $18, but you can also get it for two ($29), four ($58) or ten ($135). Beyond paella are plenty of fish, steaks and chops (most of which are under $21), and an old favorite of mine, chicken Villeroy, chicken breasts coated with béchamel sauce and then deep fried. Back in the Middle Ages I used to get this at El Faro in Greenwich Village.

Sangria 71 also offers more than two dozen true Spanish tapas such as shrimp in garlic sauce, chorizo sausage, grilled octopus, tortilla Espanola and sliced Serrano ham, which range in price from $7 to $13.

As for the restaurant’s namesake beverage, there are nine varieties of sangria on offer, $8 per glass, $25 per pitcher.

Sangria 71, open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, is at 71 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-246-9778,

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