Thursday, July 21, 2005

Restaurant Remix 1: Tia Pol

Clockwise from top left: Blue Cheese Croquettes; Fava Bean Spread; Mushroom Carpaccio; Tres Salsas.

LOCATION: 205 10th Avenue
DATE: July 17, 2005
FOOD: Split the following: Two orders of Patatas Bravas; Deviled Eggs; Carpaccio of Mushrooms in Olive Oil; Blue Cheese Croquettes; Ham and Cheese Croquettes; Fried Chickpeas; Fava Bean and Pecorino Cheese Spread on Baguette; Tres Salsas (Pepper Spread, Olive Spread, and Lima Bean Spread) with Tomato Basted Baguette
DRINK: Glass of Red Sangria
PRICE: $38.00

TheTasteland’s first review of Tia Pol from April 3, 2005

In a city with as many dining options as New York, it’s not enough to be a flash in the pan (pun definitely intended), one more of many restaurants of the moment, here today, forgotten tomorrow. To accomplish staying power, a restaurant, once reaching a level of prestige, must develop a consistent kitchen, turning towards the technical aspect of cooking by maintaining and building off of past accomplishments. To Kill A Mockingbird is a great novel, but a great novelist Harper Lee is not. One book, like a strong two month stint for a restaurant, does not an undisputed master of an artistic field make.

Thus, three months and hoards of publicity later, that Tia Pol is still creating symphonic Spanish tapas is more than reassuring. The patatas bravas were as addictive and cheesy as in April. The ham and cheese croquettes gushed with the same overflowing indulgence, fried cheese fit for Queen Isabel. And of course, there were the fried chickpeas, crunchily delicious and as salt-ridden as the glass of margarita, but with a light snack quality reminiscent of popcorn.

However, the dishes left untried on the previous visit proved just as impressive. The blue cheese croquettes were the best of the bunch, somehow managing to be even more rewarding than their ham and cheese kin. The fattiness of the oil toned down the inherent sourness of the cheese, the two ingredients forming a balancing act fit for the a high-wire circus. Mushroom carpaccio, a nightly special, illustrated an ability of Tia Pol’s chefs to create food of a more delicate nature. Bathed in fragrant Spanish olive oil and tiny red and yellow peppers, the near translucent mushrooms blossomed like freshly caught seafood on the tongue. Tres salsas of olive, lima bean, and mixed peppers were another outstanding vegetarian option, as was the salty coarseness of the blend of fava beans and pecorino cheese in another spread. Both were hampered by baguette slices which were a bit to tough for the whipped airiness of the spreads. The only real downside of the meal though, were the paprika laden deviled eggs, bitter and over-seasoned. However, it’s much easier to overlook a misstep when it only costs three dollars and when the rest of the meal has been remarkable.

Overall, Tia Pol has continued to expand on its superb beginning. It might be too early to award it the status of New York culinary giant just yet, but it has moved beyond promise and into the realm of achieved expectations. Tia Pol shows all the signs of possessing the stuff legends are made of.

RATING: 8.7/10.0

No comments: