We are big fans of tapas bars, since we like a lot of variety when we
eat. We also like to eat during the odd hours between ordinary human
lunch and ordinary human dinner. This has made us big fans of Tapeo in Boston, but we don't get
into Boston as often as we used to, so we have been looking for a good
tapas bar in New York City, and now we have found Tia Pol.
Tia Pol is a bit bigger than a hole in the wall, but it is narrow and
deep. There is a bar towards the front and small tables towards the
back. They are so tight on space that they only have bar stools, rather
than regular chairs, even at the tables. They even take advantage of
various wall sconces to provide a third seat at some of the tables.
We sat at the bar and made our way through the excellent menu.
We opened with a revuelto which is Spanish scrambled eggs, except that
the eggs are beaten as they cook so they gets fluffy and creamy. This
revuelto was advertised as being made with mock baby eels. We love baby
eels, so we asked about this. Apparently baby eels were out of season,
so they were using whitebait which are little fish, so tiny that it is
easy to confuse them with pasta until you taste the rich fishy flavor.
We will never mock mock baby eels again.
Then we moved on to the hot kale soup with paprika oil and the squid
cooked in its own ink with wonderful Spanish rice. The squid ink tasted
dark, this made the white rice seem brilliant in contrast. One of our
favorite dishes were the roasted red peppers which were stuffed with
potato salad and served with flaked canned tuna. The peppers were sweet
and smokey, the potato salad cool and sharp and the tuna salty for a
perfect symphony of flavors set off by a well dressed watercress salad.
We also had cockle and razor clams in the classic garlic butter and
olive oil, and a lima bean spread which we ate with manchego cheese on
chunks of grilled bread.
Then came the patatas bravas. These were fantastic twice cooked
potatoes, puffy and creamy at the same time, and they melted in one's
mouth. This dish was a tour de force. They could go national.
We finished with a big black plum and staggered off with happy smiles
on our faces. All told, the wines were good, the service was friendly,
and the cooking fantastic. We are hoping to come back real soon.
5 November 2004
UPDATE 12 April 2005: Tia Pol
is as good as ever. We love that squid in its ink.