(212) 956-3055Looking back when I was 17 and I declined the invitation to go to Chile with my parents so I could stay home alone. I still want to slap myself, especially now that I have experienced Chilean food first hand. Pomaire, named after a Chilean town known for its pottery, is the only Chilean restaurant in Manhattan. Add that to the fact that it's located on restaurant row in the heart of NYC's tourist area, and you have a recipe for success.
Last Saturday, Jaquie and I entered the dim restaurant for a late lunch to notice we were the only customers. I thought to myself, "Is this place bad?" I hadn't read many reviews, and the staff acted like we had caught them with their pants down. At this point we nearly turned back, but instead I asked "Are you open?". We were then greeted by the Chilean version of Rico Suave that even seemed hesitant to give us the table we wanted within an empty restaurant. I let it slide and hoped that the poor welcome did not reflect on their food.
As we looked over the menu, we snacked on some amazing home made bread that was paired with Pebre, an acidic and spicy salsa made with Chilean spices. Make a note to try the pumpkin bread… it’s a very unique experience.
Open Sesame!! Kitchen doors opened and as the food was prepared, the staff seemed to warm up along with it.
We had decided on the beef empanadas and ceviche for apps. The empanadas were the largest i’ve seen with a very thin dough on the outside and stuffed with interesting ingredients such as olives, raisins and boiled eggs. Add some pebre, and you can’t go wrong.
The mixed seafood ceviche called Mariscal was a party of different seafood in one. It was a wise choice. The shrimp, clams, mussels and scallops were mouth-watering especially when slurped up with a spoonful of onion and spicy juices from the bottom of the bowl.
As my main dish I had traditional Chilean seafood chowder. A seafood after party with more of the market fresh mussels, shrimps, and scallops served in a clay pot (hence the name of the place) with chanco cheese, which is very popular throughout Chile.
Jaquie had the roasted pork loin with a mushroom crab cake and roasted potatoes topped with mushrooms and a regional mushroom sauce. While very delicious, it wasn’t really the highlight of the meal.
We took a break before dessert, and Jaquie had some wine while I tried a pisco sour which is a brandy distilled from grapes…pretty tasty. We then realized that the early dinner crowd appeared out of thin air. I guess our food gave us a sort of tunnel vision.
The dessert, papayas in syrup, was my favorite discovery. Though it carries the same name as the papaya that most Latin food lovers know, this fruit has the texture and amazing taste combinations of mangoes, peaches and YES papayas. Jaquie chose a meringue dessert that was layered with a popular Chilean sweet cream resembling a layered cake. The crunchy texture of the meringue a nice surprise that just melted in your mouth.
Needless to say, Pomaire does a great job at being the sole representative of Chilean cuisine in New York City. Though a bit pricey, it requires a return visit.