Pomaire ~ Orderinny

Saturday, June 10, 2006


A danger one faces when dining around Times Square is picking the wrong places, places that are meant as tourist traps serving expensive and bland food in a cheesy environ where servers, beyond bringing food to the table, try their darndest selling you sparkling water and expensive bottles of wine. Thus, when we decided to eat on the infamous restaurant row on 46th st this weekend, I sifted through recommendations from friends, authoritative new york food blogs and review sites to weed out the duds and to shortlist some potential places. In the end, I picked Pomaire over Becco, for the great reviews it got and the prospect of trying a novel cuisine, Chilean to be exact. Also, the thought of the All You Can Eat pasta deal at Becco was far too allluring and a truly dangerous path to take for a carb fanatic such as I.
Pomaire, advertised blatantly as the only Chilean restaurant in Manhattan serves up some traditional Chilean alongside entrees, such as panfried salmon and steak, that would not look out of place in most new american restaurants. I cannot judge the authenticity of the food, this being my first Chilean meal, but everyone thought favorably of their entrees. Ceci admired the texture of her pan fried hake while Ruoying's combo of juicy ribs and warm mashed potato was full of flavor. I ordered one of the most traditional dish on the menu, the cazuela, or a chicken stew with root vegetables and rice and enjoyed it too, although it tasted too much like the chicken soup I cook at home and didn't merit the $17 price tag.
Appetizers were less successful, the tamale being too watery and the empanadas just normal. And desserts were quite a disaster. The Thousand Layered cake tasted stale, the merengue cake tasted like confectionery sugar and the papayas in syrup were just that, papayas in syrup. All were too sweet, and a real pity because if done properly, the desserts could have been a stellar end to the meal.
We did however, love the extra attentive service. The servers were funny, patient, and went the extra mile to 1) turn an order of 2 large empanadas to 5 small ones so that we could have individual empanadas and 2) to gallantly retrieve my root vegetables from the cazuela to prevent them from disintegrating in the broth and bringing my extra hot sauce to spice the broth up. They weren't overly pushy about selling overpriced drinks, but I thought they figured that we were an easy sell because Gerri's Dad was eager to try all their recommendations and they could have taken some liberty by recommending a pricier bottle of wine and pushing more desserts than we could handle. Then again, I could be overly cautious, this being Restaurant Row and all.
So overall, the meal was enjoyable although the food was only average and a tad expensive, truth to be told. The ambience was quaint but not too chintzy and the warm service redeemed whatever misgivings I had about the food. However, it will be a while before I go back as the quality of the food just didn't warrant the price tag. Still, big thanks to UNCLE & AUNTY for the wonderful meal!

371 W46th St (bet. 8th & 9th Ave)

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