What I love about tapas is the concept: small plates perfect to have with a drink (or two) or to share with others, as well as how comforting some of these dishes can be. So, we went to open table to try to find a tapas place and noticed Tia Pol, conveniently located next to the High Line, where we took a walk to digest...
Tia Pol was opened by Heather Belz and Mani Dawes in July 2004, to celebrate the Spanish cuisine that the owners experienced few years before, when living or traveling to Spain. The name itself comes from a cat Mani Dawes befriended back then.
This is an exiguous place, a hole in the wall, that feels warm and unpretentious, more like your neighborhood joint.
In the back is a larger room that is either used when there is an overflow of customers in the main part of the restaurant or for private parties.
Besides tapas, the menu offers different large plates for lunch, brunch and dinner. But we were there for tapas. They have a nice choice, mainly with either meat or fish. So if you do not eat any, your choice will be limited, a pattern pretty common in such place.
We started off with a cheese platter:
A goat cheese:
The last one, I missed the name...
They were served with some walnut and raisin bread.
Then we got the croquetas de jamón or ham croquettes:
We had the choice to order the small or larger serving. We chose the smaller one.
This was delicious: the outside was crispy and not greasy and the inside soft with a nice smokiness and saltiness from the ham.
Then, we ordered the tortilla española or Spanish omelet.
It was very good and I did not even need the mayonnaise with it as it was tasty and moist.
The next dish was huevos rellenos al pimentón de la vera or deviled eggs with smoked paprika.
Slightly spicy, I truly appreciated the fact that the taste of mayonnaise was not too pronounced.
After that was the crema de hígado de pollo or chicken liver mousse:
As Jodi does not like chicken liver, I ordered the smaller portion. Served on a toasted bread, it was drizzled with some sort of sauce made with Pedro Ximénez, a white Spanish wine grape, that added a nice sweetness to the dish. I really liked this dish.
The last tapas was the pinchos mourns or lamb skewers:
The smaller portion included two skewers made of cubed lamb cooked with moorish spices (mix of several spices such as cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper...). That was a succulent dish, the lamb being perfectly cooked and the spices giving a very flavorful taste to it. I regretted at this point not having ordered the larger portion!
Of course, we could not leave without dessert to accompany my espresso and Jodi's tea...
And we picked the churros:
Churros are Spanish fried-dough pastries, sometimes referred as Spanish doughnuts. This is a very addictive dessert or snack (like any fried stuff, no?). They were served with some melted chocolate. I think that they disappeared from the table in couple of minutes...I definitely recommend them.
We had a fantastic lunch at Tia Pol: the food was very good and prices reasonable. I really like the fact that, for some dishes, they propose smaller portions, allowing us to try multiple dishes. If you are looking for a tapas place, I highly recommend this one.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!