In the last few years, New York has experienced an explosion of wine bars across the city, with particular interest in Spanish wine and tapas bars. Probably one of the first and most notable is Tia Pol in the heart of Chelsea and on the edge of famous art gallery district. When you walk in, you feel like you’ve entered an authentic old world, back street Madrid-type tapas bar. It’s a diminutive space, with narrow hallway, dark, cozy interior and thick wood bar and tables.
Even better than the aesthetics are the food and wine lists. Here the kitchen staff is creating traditional dishes, with modern twists and presentation, pleasing to the most discriminating of native Spain patrons. The bocata de lomo adobado (marinated pork loin, piquillo pepper and tetilla chees sandwich) and the Trucha a la navarra (Navarran style trout) are utter decadence in a small plate and just two of many fantastic selections. When I say decadence and fantastic, I choose my words carefully and without exaggeration. When I took a Spanish transplant to lunch at Tia Pol, the native of Navarro exclaimed that this was the most authentic and best food from her homeland that she had experienced in New York. The wine selections are exclusively Spanish, hailing from every area of the country. Much of the authenticity is due to the love for all things Spain by the owner, chef and wine buyer who often vacation there.