My friend Tucci was in town from San Diego and we wanted something informal and easy while we caught up…tapas seemed appropriate no? Our first choice, Salinas, was closed on Mondays so we opted to head to Tia Pol last minute. Perhaps it was the rain combined with it being a Monday evening but there wasn’t the usual 45 minute wait! We even got a seat instead of having to dine at the bar.
Tucci claimed she wasn’t too hungry so I tried to go light on the order even though my first instinct was to go to all things meat. haha.
Shisito peppers that are blistered (aka roasted) and sprinkled with sea salt:
I love these peppers. They are often used in Korean cuisine but eaten like this, you get the true essence of the pepper and the roasting makes them sweeter. Some bites CAN be spicy as you eat the peppers whole with seeds but they really are so lovely, so delicate.
The octopus salad (small portion):
The octopus was so tender and had a great meaty flavor and texture to them. The octopus is tossed with onions, roasted potatoes, green peppers and a nice sprinkle of paprika. This is served cold and it’s a really great choice for seafood. I thought I was going to be bored with this but I enjoyed it.
The ham croquettes:
OMG so delicious. Crunchy fried breading outside, creamy center with flecks of salty ham. I think there must have been cheese mixed in because it had a wonderful cheesy thick consistency to it. They are about the size of an egg.
An order of the chorizo:
Garlicky, spicy and full of that Spanish flavor. MMMM I love me some chorizo. I like them almost slightly burnt so i thought these could have been cooked slightly longer.
So Tucci was pretty satisfied at this point but I ovbviously needed to be fed some more. I suggested we get the traditional shrimp in garlic and olive oil and get some pan con tomate to dip. I figured the bread would fill up the gaping hungry part of my tummy!
Shrimp were overcooked actually and a bit chewy but they filled a void. Didn’t feel like the olive oil sauce had that much flavor to it actually. I’ve had much better preparation of this dish elsewhere.
The tomato tasted off for some reason. I’m sure they make a huge vat of the tomato to smear on the bread. I thought the bread was toasted nicely but could have used more garlic. Again, nothing special and it did the job of sopping up some of that shrimp sauce. So I finished my half, then half of Tucci’s remaining half and also finished off the bread basket and THEN I was full.
Tia Pol is pretty popular for the tasty tapas but the prices are also quite reasonable. The waits can be daunting but if you go early enough and put your name down while you enjoy a glass of nice wine, it can go by fast.
Tia Pol, 205 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY