Poco (Dinner)

Poco is one of my favorite go-to spots for a good time. When GrindingNYCapproached me about doing a food series entitled, Best in the City, I knew Pocowould be the perfect place to begin our culinary adventure. In addition, our timing couldn’t have been more perfect as my good friend and Poco Owner, Sara Grizzle, had a brand- spankin’ new menu to promote, dreamed up by their new head chef, Angel Bolano.

Being it was a Friday night and Poco is always a party, I decided to recruit a few of my favorite people to imbibe in the good vibes: Danny Larkin, Domenique Profir, Rob Melso, Amona White, and of course, my GrindingNYC boys- Easy Mac, Ramen, and George.

Sara greeted us, as bubbly and beautiful as ever, and showed our party to a table in the back. The restaurant was brimming with activity, people sipping cocktails, whilst savoring conversation and flavor. The DJ held down a nice groove in the back with a playlist that bounced from MIA to Bob Marley. There was something for everyone, without being too obtrusive.

We started off with a few pitchers of Poco’s Red Sangria which, in my opinion, is the best Sangria in NYC. Living in Spain made me quite the Sangria snob, but luckily, Poco delivers with plenty of orange, apple, and pineapple slices, and of course, plenty of “punch,” if you know what I mean.

Sara then brought out our first dish, Arepas filled with braised brisket, topped with pico de gallo. There’s nothing about an Arepa that I don’t like and the braised brisket paired nicely with the flaky Arepa crust. Two “Yums” up.

Next, we had Mushroom Truffle Croquettes with a truffle crème fraiche. This particular item was taken from the original Poco menu but was brought up a few notches with the addition of the crème fraiche, which highlighted the mushroom flavor and served as a nice contrast to the crunchiness of the Croquette’s bready shell.

After all of that fried deliciousness, the light, cleansing, Shrimp Ceviche was just what the doctor ordered. The Morales citrus and Grilled Pineapple served as a soft and sweet compliment to the crunch and zest of the red peppers and scallions. The toasted almonds on top were a nice touch as well. Also, the presentation of this dish was stunning- with the Shrimp piled high in a leaning tower of Ceviche. I had no hesitations digging in and knocking it down. :-)

Post- citrus explosion, is was time to get meaty and hearty again, with one of my staple Poco dishes, The Poco Sliders. Typical? Maybe. But SO good! Healthy slabs of beef, toasted bread, topped with smoked hickory sauce, tomato, pickle, and manchego cheese. It’s like eating Texas… with NYC portions.

Finally, we get to my favorite dish of the night, The Duck Breast. The Duck was succulent and pan- seared to perfection and the cauliflower puree was divine. Let me repeat that- DIVINE. When this dish came out I regretted bringing such a big entourage along. I was getting ready to stab people with my fork to get more duck. Luckily they all got distracted by the Skirt Steak Dish that was served at the same time. Lucky Ducky. All for me. :-)

Once again, another memorable evening was relished at Poco. While the food was fabulous, the Poco experience goes beyond food. It’s the people, it’s the carefree ambiance, and it’s the community spirit. Poco is the kind of place where you feel at home and everyone knows your name. If you’d like to sample the action yourself, be sure to catch one of their daily dinner specials or their famous all- you- can drink brunchon Saturdays and Sundays. Poco is located at 33 Avenue B at 3rd Street in theEastVillage.

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