Yoshie and I went to last night’s pre-tasting of Poco’s New Year’s Eve dinner …for friends and family to taste and work out any kinks in the dishes. Poco reached out to us as food bloggers to participate. The modern Spanish menu is created by guest Jessica Floyd (trained by Daniel Boulud). My notes in blue (remember this is a free meal, but I’ll try to be objective here).

Choice of:
Crudo – Marinated Snapper, Grapes, Shaved Artichokes, Marcona Almonds, Celery Citrus Emulsion. One of the bites of raw snapper was especially tasty and buttery. Overall, kinda like ceviche.
Calamar – Cumin Crusted Squid, Blistered Guindilla Peppers, Baby Arugula, Green Romesco. This is my recommendation. The best calamari I can remember eating. I usually have calamari that’s soggy. This was crispy and had a lot of different layers of flavor throughout.

Choice of:
Arroz Negro – Creamy Forbidden Black Rice, Bay Scallops, Drunken Goat Cheese, Black Radish, Fennel Salad. Tasty, creamy.
Pernil – Puerto Rican Braised Pork Cheeks, Pickled Fried Okra, Sweet Plantain Tart, Black Beans. Didn’t get to try this, unfortunately. I’m still curious how Pork Cheeks taste.
Huevo – Pimenton Crusted Soft Cooked Hen’s Egg, Wild Mushrooms, Crisp Chorizo, Valdeon Cream. A nicely cooked soft-boiled egg.
…This is a toss-up because they both good. But out of the two I tried, I’d go with the Huevo.

Choice of:
Pescado- Rum Glazed Halibut, Caldo Verde, Limon Hushpuppies, Chimichurri. The fish was just alright. Not as moist and tender as I’d like. The chimichurri sauce was good, but is different from the chimichurri that I know of. Perhaps if the chimichurri was bolder in flavor, it would hold up the halibut more.
Pollo – Pan Seared Breast, Chicharrones, Espellette Potato Cream, Hen of the Woods, Brown Butter Jus. The chicken was well cooked, but not very adventurous. With the gravy, it’s like eating tasty Thanksgiving turkey. The Chicharrones is less like the deep fried fatty pork rinds I know of, but still really good. Fried cripsy skin with non-fatty pork meat (tenderloin?).
Cordero – Braised Lamb Saddle, Baby Lamb Chops, Sweet Rice Torta, Smokey Cippolinis, Farofa Crumble, Port. I recommend this dish. Lamb nicely cooked and I liked the sweet rice torta, which was like a crispy rice nugget.

Choice of:
Sopapillas – Candy Apple Filled, Dulce de Leche, Huckleberry Ice Cream. Delicious. Heartier of the two desserts.
Tarta de Queso – Galacian Crema, Cacao Crisps, Guava Puree. I like this one more. Light filling with nice crispy brittle. I believe they changed up the cacao in this recipe.

$45 Four Courses
$30 Additional Wine Pairing
Seatings tonight at 6, 7, 8 and 9pm

A very solid four-course meal overall. Starts strong if you get the Calamari. The second course is where it’s at. The third is the weakest, in my opinion. And the dessert is redemption. The wine pairing is nice. I got two glasses per dish, but I think they were just getting feedback as to which one pairs better. That left me a little tipsy at the end while talking to the friends and family of the restaurant. I quite enjoyed their company. I learned a few things through our conversations, especially with the executive chef’s father. I just can’t remember them. But I do remember starting a ten minute conversation about how Rob Schneider is the alpha male lead in The Benchwarmers. The guest chef was kinda cute and she can cook. She could easily be on TV.

I’m told that their brunch is popular. $22 served with 3 cocktails mimosa, bloody mary or sangria …or $25 unlimited cocktails with a large party. Sounds like a deal!

Thanks Sarah, Poco and Yoshie for the experience.

Poco – 33 Avenue B (@ 3rd Street) New York, NY 10009

About The Author

Jason Lam

Food blogger since 2008. Hair model since 2003.

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