I ended up at the Tia Pol on a Saturday evening and I can tell you that it was the best meal I had for a while. Of course this is not your usual sit-down, course by course meal but a night of eating, drinking and having fun with friends.
We got to Tia Pol after walking around the Highline. It was about 5:30 so there were still plenty of tables available but that changed very quickly. In about twenty to thirty minutes the place was full. We were lucky to grab a table at the back for three so we were away from the action of the bar area. Tia Pol is not a large restaurant, its quiet small with a long, narrow dining room with high chairs and stools lined up by the wall. Bar is right up front where most eats and drinks here. There is also a small counter for people just doing the drinking part.
I wish I could say that it would be great to go with a large group but the only large table they have is in the back and it can only handle eight people in a tight quarter. All the other tables are for two to three people and there aren't many of those either. If I say a dozen tables that could be pushing it.
Pass the space restrictions the vibe of this place is fun, fun and more fun with great tapas and other dishes. We started with a bottle of Spanish Jorge Ordonez Botani Moscatel Blanc Dry at $49 which was a bit overpriced when compared to retail prices but it went very well even after the second bottle. After the second bottle we continued with the best white Sangria (at $30) I had in NYC.
Apart from the drinks we had a great tasting of "all the daily specials dishes" they offered that day. I like to think of the daily specials chef's way of saying these are the dishes I want people to eat because they are fresh, in season and I felt good making them apart from the regular menu. Daily specials included the Chanquetes (hard to describe but they are small fish similar to whitebait, deep fried like French-fries and they are some of the most perfect drinking food), pimientos estilo gernika which were seared /charred small green peppers, most of them being mild but few hot ones escaped the selection process, then the sepia cooked in the small earthen tapas dish in the oven.
Now if I had to pick the highlight of the night, it had to be the "Cochinillo Asado" or Roast Suckling Pig. This was the best! I had this in Puerto Rico, Guavate / Cayey and they are known to be the best on this side of the world but did not even come close to the one from Tia Pol. It was large enough for three, even four people to eat. It was a bit pricey for $29 but no matter, I would get it again in a second. Other daily specials included the Calcots which are the ramps and they are in season only for few weeks at a year, they nicely grilled with oil and garlic. Last dish from the daily special was the pea shoots with Serrano ham salad.
Besides the daily specials we also ordered from the regular menu; Morunos, two small skewers of grilled lamb with a small piece of bread - street-cart style, navajas y almejas which as razor clams and cockles in a light tomato broth. We finished this great night with couple of desserts, leche frita and the torta. If we had nay more room I would have liked to try the chorizo with chocolate but that's something for the next time. I could only hope that the daily specials they will be as good if not better than the ones we enjoyed.
205 10th Avenue
(Between 22nd & 23rd Streets)
New York, NY 10011