The Upper West Side isn't known for being a culinary enclave. Sure you can find some of the best diners and pizza joints up there and some great brunch spots, but as a residential neighborhood the diversity of options can be a bit limiting. With the recent opening of Casa Pomona, partners Sid Gupta (Pappardella) and Marion Maur (Marion's Country Kitchen) aim to spice up the dining scene with a little bit of Spanish flare.
Tapas are the latest craze, and what’s not to love about sharing a bunch of dishes among friends. Named after the Roman goddess of abundance, Casa Pomona offers just that, a wide array of fabulous tapas that will please even the pickiest of eaters. To further immerse itself into the neighborhood, Casa Pomona recently began serving a bottomless brunch ($15 per person, 2 hour limit) that showcases many of the delightful tapas found on the main menu while letting you enjoy sangria and mimosas until your heart’s content. With Chef Don Flores (Morimoto, Mercat) at the helm, the menu preserves the authenticity of traditional Spanish tapas while serving up brunch favorites.
To experience tapas, one must start off with a decent drink. Aside from a powerful sangria and mimosa, Casa Pomona offers several enticing cocktails, including the fresa cobbler ($10) featuring Tequila Cabeza, lemon juice, and strawberry jam and topped with cava. Wine, of course, goes hand in hand with tapas, and Casa Pomona offers a nice variety of vinos rojos y blancos.
Those who love authentic Spanish tapas will agree that the litmus test for any tapas restaurant is the patatas bravas ($5)—seasoned potato cubes fried then drizzled with a combination of spicy paprika and aioli sauces. It might sound pretty simple but few places have actually mastered this, and Casa Pomona is one of them. The sauces are tasty without being too spicy or overpowering the potatoes. You might want to double the order.
Consider sharing an order of pan con tomate y queso ($6)—a traditional tapa in Barcelona—featuring a tangy blend of mashed tomato and fresh garlic topped with slices of Idiazabal cheese and served on slices of grilled bread. Despite the simplicity of this starter, it possesses a great deal of flavor with each bite of bread soaking up the tomato and garlic juice blend, an absolute delight. One order may not be enough.
The tapas also include hearty choices such as the braised short rib ($6)—tender pieces of marinated beef topped with pickled peppers. This choice may not stand out as much as tbe other options but the sliced manchego cheese on top is a nice touch.
In true brunch fashion, Casa Pomona offers several egg choices that meet New Yorker’s breakfast expectations while infusing a little bit of Spain in each one. Take the tortilla Española ($12), for example, which traditionally features a thick omelette consisting of egg and potato. Chef Flores brings in the New York element by topping off the tortilla with a mix of smoked salmon, crème fraiche, pickled onions, and crispy capers. The additional elements complement the tortilla quite nicely without being too salty.
If you are feeling adventurous, consider ordering the Scotch egg ($6), Casa Pomona’s take on deviled eggs which are hard-boiled, sliced, and deep fried then topped with deliciously seasoned minced chorizo. This dish might not be high on everyone’s list, but it would be a pity if you didn’t try them.
In keeping with the brunch tradition, Casa Pomona also features fluffy apple pancakes ($10) served with Granny Smith apple slices and delicious maple butter, and honey wheat waffles ($9) featuring applesauce, walnuts, and a dollop of whipped cream.
The tapas are versatile and flavorful, while being reasonably priced. Brunch offers a nice extension to the menu with traditional dishes being further enhanced with a Spanish touch. Residents of the Upper West Side will find Casa Pomona to be a must. For the rest of us, we now have a reason to trek uptown.
507 Columbus Avenue
New York, New York 10024