Tia Pol

Tia Pol

212 675 8805

205 Tenth Avenue (near 22nd Street)

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.

REVIEW: 5 November 2004

UPDATE 12 April 2005: Tia Pol is as good as ever. We love that squid in its ink.

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