As small plates continue to dominant the restaurant scene, the soon-to-be-opened Casa Pomona on the Upper West Side offers the original style of shared plates: Spanish tapas. Owned by restaurateurs Marion Maur, who used to run Marion’s Country Kitchen in Woodstock, New York, and Sid Gupta, of Pappardella, Village Pourhouse, Hudson Terrace, and Little Town fame, the new venue marks the New York culinary introduction of chef Jodi Bernhard, a former Wall Street nine-to-fiver.
“I knew I needed a change but did not set out to jump into food,” said Bernhard. “Since cooking was always something that I enjoyed, I signed up for culinary school on a whim more for personal pleasure then a career path but, as they say, one thing led to another and here I am.”
When Bernhard left the business world, she took a turn at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and then cut her chops at Ken Origner’s Clio in Boston. Next she ran chef Patrick O’Connell’s kitchen at The Inn at Little Washington. Now, she comes to New York from her stint as executive chef of Barcelona Restaurant in Connecticut.
“People ask me a lot which job I think is more stressful, finance or restaurants, and it’s honestly a tough thing to answer,” said Bernhard. “But I can tell you that I’ve never looked back, not once."
As Casa Pomona debuts, Bernhard brings her skills at making the traditional Spanish dishes, including albondigas stuffed with oxtail, grilled Spanish black sausage with chickpeas, patatas bravas that she cooks in duck fat, and grilled baby leeks with romesco. Aside from these classic nibbles, Casa Pomona also serves an array of Spanish beers, sangria on tap, and cocktails, Espanola style.