There hasn’t been much in the way of tapas on New York’s Upper West Side in quite a while, and that’s what restaurateurs Sid Gupta set out to fix in fall of 2012 when they opened Casa Pomona on Columbus Avenue between 84th and 85th streets. Sadly, Hurricane Sandy hit the city just six weeks later, and the entire lower level was flooded, shutting the restaurant down indefinitely. Thankfully, it finally re-opened in August after extensive repairs, and we should be glad that it’s back in action.
We were recently invited to sample the menu at the invitation of the restaurant, and left quite impressed. The bi-level space boasts a long bar and high, long tables in the front room, an elegant and comfortable back room dominated by a mural by artist Eduardo Anievas, and sidewalk seating. The space isn’t stuffy in the least but it’s also not too laid-back; it’s just the right level of casual, with an ambiance that puts you in a festive mood.
The menu at Casa Pomona features classic tapas, along with a slew of cocktails and stellar sangria. Pintxos include white anchovies, spiced Marcona almonds, and house-cured olives; homemade breads come topped with roasted garlic or tomato; and there’s a wide selection of cheeses and charcuteria. Tapas plates include a flavorful crispy roast sucking pig, rich croquettas filled with salt cod or chorizo, fried artichoke hearts, white gazpacho, grilled calçots with romesco, meatballs, and fried patatas bravas topped with spicy tomato sauce and aioli.
Larger dishes include a giant paella that's ideal for sharing, grilled steaks, and fideua, a dish similar to paella but made with Valencian noodles and squid ink. You can also order a whole crispy suckling pig with 24 hours’ notice.
It’s clear that there’s a real attention to detail in the preparation of the food at Casa Pomona, with well-developed flavors and an eye toward authenticity and tradition. Tapas was the "small plate" that started it all, and it’ll be around for a long time after the trend has died down. Hopefully Casa Pomona is around for a while, too.