I’ve been wanting to try Poco a Poco, which has been open for a while now in Hyde Park Square. It sounds fun, it looks cool, and it’s in a prime location.
This “Latin cuisine tapas-style” restaurant has a handful of vegetarian choices, but many are queso or creama-based. Plus, there is only one vegetarian entrée. When Alex and I go out, it’s usually a disappointment when we have to get the same entrée or adapt others beyond recognition.
The good news is, at least we can always get different drinks. Below, on the left, is my white sangria, which tasted like pear (as advertised). Alex got a mango margarita. Both were fresh and delicious.
When I heard they were having a special vegan menu one night, I couldn’t wait. I found out via facebook, of course, which eerily knows more and more about me, even when I don’t put much personal information out there.
The special menu featured three appetizers, three entrees, and four sides. It was wonderful, and very different, to have to choose what to order and not try everything. We shared two starters, the chickpea salad and the sope.
The chickpea salad was simple, but delicious, and topped with addictive fried tortilla strips. The menu said it was a mint, lettuce, and chickpea salad with a vinaigrette of espresso and lime. You can see the tomato, and I swear there was cilantro in there, too. This bowl was a generous, filling portion.
The sope looked small in contrast, but it was also delicious and filling. This was a just-heavy-enough masa crust, filled with refried beans and topped with roasted vegetables (zucchini and sweet potatoes, I think, or maybe squash) and topped with radish matchsticks. This may have been my favorite dish of the night.
The appetizer we did not order was tofu ceviche (onions, chilies, lime, tomato, mint). I’m sure it was also good – but what a treat not to order every vegan option on the menu!
For entrées, Alex selected the tacos, which were three simple corn tortillas topped with thinly sliced roasted red and green bell peppers, avocado, and poblano tomatillo salsa.
I ordered the motelenos, a sandwich of fried corn tortilla filled with red beans and mushrooms and topped with guacamole and fried artichokes. These fried artichokes were super tasty – they were thin and papery like flower petals and just salty enough. This was an overload of fried for me, though. Thankfully Alex and I shared both dishes. The entrée we did not select sounded great – enchiladas (eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, red sauce).
We got chips and salsa, and the chips were fresh and perfect and the salsa was hot and smoky. Both were excellent. We also got a side of charred corn, which was sweet and smoky, with onion and cilantro, and another favorite dish of the night. We also got fluffy citrus-sofrtio-rice, which also rounded out the meal really well. The only side we didn’t try was refried beans, which I know would have been delicious as we tasted them in both the sope and the motelenos.
Our waitress let us know that they will be incorporating some of these vegan selections into their new spring menu that will be coming out soon. I hope it includes the sopes and charred corn!