Three of us made it over to Tia Pol last night and were all in agreement that the food was some of the most diverse, well-seasoned, and best we've had in a long time. I have to say, reading all the positive reviews left me wondering whether it was really all it was cracked up to be, but it did not dissapoint in any aspect.
Granted, the space is tiny, making a wait for a table nearly inevitable, but we were quite content to order a pitcher of sangria and get a couple of nibbles at the bar while we waited for our table to become available. While the hostess/waitress said it would be 20 minutes, she politely came over after 25 minutes to tell us that she had given a couple of checks to tables, but they were not yet leaving. I though it was rather nice of her to give us an update, and we ended up getting seated soon after.
We ended up ordering 5 dishes on top of the 2 that we had at the bar, and then got one dessert dish for a total of 8 dishes. They were as follows:
patatas bravas - the best I've ever had, the outside of the potato was crisp, the inside soft and the aioli sauce was amazing
croquettes - with creamy/cheezy filling of ham and wat I've gathered is a Bechamel sauce, these things could be addictive
lamb skewers - the lamb was tender and well seasoned by something that got each of us wondering...I think we decided it was cumin
chorizo and chocolate toast - sounds odd, but here was an example of a mixture of interesting flavors tasting great together
paquetitos - serrano ham formed into triangles and filled with artichoke hearts and manchego cheese. Great balance of flavors.
Tortilla Espanola - again very good and one of the most traditional Spanish tapas on the menu
mussels in white bean and wine sauce - very garlicky and very good. It was a special for the night and reminded me of cassoulet (except it was mussels instead of a mixture of meats, and was less heavy)
Catalan cake - sort of like a pound cake with a sweet (whipped creme-esque) sauce and great rasberries. This was the dessert special for the night.
I was really impressed that the staff was so helpful and courteous, given all the hype. They could easily be snobby and rude, but it's great to see that they haven't let the good reviews go to their head.
All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to returning so that I can try the other items on the menu. They have a great combintation of traditional tapas and more unique items for the adventurous that would make numerous trips all the more fun. This place lives up to its reviews, and is a great addition to the city, not to mention the West Chelsea neighborhood.
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