Tio Pepe Adds Cocas To The Menu
When restaurateur Jimmy Sanz set out to introduce New Yorkers to coca he wanted to make it as authentic and delicious an experience as possible. Coca is an oval-shaped Spanish flatbread that somewhat resembles an American pizza. A dietary fixture throughout the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, cocas feature a light yet rich dough base upon which chefs can mix almost any combination of savory or sweet ingredients.
Sanz commissioned his brother to build an oven from scratch so that the restaurant could properly make cocas that live up to their family’s native culinary culture. The year-long project resulted in a beautiful brick kiln reminiscent of those found in the Spanish countryside. The wood burning function of the oven combined with the special seasoned brick used to build it adds an extra layer of unique flavor to Tio Pepe’s cocas.
While commonly served as a breakfast item, cocas can be enjoyed any time of day at Tio Pepe. As part of their new brunch menu, Tio Pepe is offering the Brunch Coca, which is topped with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, Bacon and Egg.
For lunch and dinner, guests can choose from three different cocas, all of which are priced at around $12. The Ibérica Coca brings together some quintessential Spanish flavors by combining Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese. Fresh Asparagus and Baby Arugula balance out the slightly salty taste of the meat and nutty flavor of the cheese.
The Del Mar Coca features Shrimp, Clams and Mussels plus tender pieces Salmon, Tomato and Manchego Cheese. A personal favorite of Sanz, this seafood heavy coca reminds him of sitting on the beach and watching the waves in beautiful Catalunya.
The Campesina Coca is topped with a hearty blend of ingredients: Housemade Chorizo, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Broccoli Rabe, Artichokes. A mild Mozzarella Cheese finishes off this dish and allows the bold flavors of the other toppings to take center stage.
Since 1970, Tio Pepe has charmed its way into the hearts of New Yorkers as one of the few restaurants to successfully merge the best of Spanish and Mexican cuisine into one culturally diverse yet cohesive restaurant. For over 40 years, locals and tourists alike have flocked to this Greenwich Village institution to enjoy the restaurant’s warm hospitality and crave-worthy dishes. The massive menu has something for everyone. Signature items include Chuletas Mayas ( Double-Cut Pork Chop marinated in the eatery’s famous “mancha manteles” sauce,) Ensalada Tio Pepe (mixed greens, Valencia oranges, tomatoes, oven-dried figs and a blood orange vinaigrette) and Lubina a la Vasca (wild striped sea bass with clams, garlic, white wine and parsley.)
In addition to the spacious main dining room, guests can enjoy their meal under the stars 365 days a year thanks to Tio Pepe’s fully-enclosed temperature controlled garden dining room. Adjacent to the main bar is the restaurant’s tapas bar – a unique space that resembles a traditional tapas setting in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Guests can grab a seat at one of the high top tables and indulge in a variety of tapas and pinchos in a lively and social atmosphere.
Part of the Pepe’s Restaurant Group, which also owns Las Ramblas, Burrito Loco, The Taco Shop, Casa Pepe and Da Rosina Ristorante Italiano, Tio Pepe is located at 168 West 4th Street. Reservations can be made by calling (212) 242-6480; the entire menu can be viewed at www.tiopepenyc.com