Hot Chef: Jodi Bernhard from Casa Pomona

GONY_HotChef_0228

Jodi Bernhard is in the kitchen at Casa Pomona (507 Columbus Ave.,  212-362-3200).

Credit: Karen Bruno

Nothing feels like an afterthought at Casa Pomona, where the work cooked into each dish at the Upper West Side tapas restaurant shows. From clams with a special hot sauce that started out as an accessory to cooks’ meals in the kitchen to churros that are dangerously light and fluffy, your hardest decision will be which tapas to order. Fear not, however – if you visit for the very reasonable daily happy hour (beer and wine for $5, sangria for $4) tapas at the bar are free. For a longer meal, make sure to order a glass of the Spanish garnacha, which executive chef Jodi Bernhard recommends – it perfectly complements the fare.

How did you wind your way toward Spanish food?
There are a lot of influences I had from before. I was working with Spanish food, when I first started my career. I worked really heavily with French, then I started working with Italian chefs. Those influences intertwine so readily, the European, French and Italian especially. … It literally was the appeal of being able to cook in a fairly simple and rustic style but have elements of refinement and being ingredients-focused and seasonal and simple, the ability to take one ingredient and put it on the plate and highlight it.

You were in Connecticut before. What is different about cooking in New York City?
It’s dramatically different in that I put a lot more pressure on myself more than anything. It’s a big deal to have in your head that you’re cooking in New York City. In terms of what I’m doing with the food and the styling of the menu and the kinds of dishes I’m offering, I think I’m able to get a little more adventurous, but at the same time I don’t feel like my basic menu composition has changed that dramatically.

What is your favorite dish to cook?
Mussels en escebeche. This is a dish that was totally a “me” dish. I put it on the menu because I love them, the mussels. I’m continually surprised when I get overwhelmingly positive feedback on that, not because I don’t think it’s a great dish, I do, but they’re mussels and they’re being served cold, which is unusual. And it’s also something that doesn’t leap off the page as, “Oh, that’s definitely something I’d order.” But they have caught on.

What are you experimenting with right now?
I’ve started to focus a little bit more on seafood. That’s always a pretty prominent ingredient, of course, but I feel like I’ve just gotten to the point in the last couple of weeks where I’ve been able to feel comfortable with the core menu. Last night I pulled in some razor clams, and I made this sauce actually for internal use, for people to eat who like spicy food or if a customer asks for hot sauce. People have gone so crazy with it that I’m like, “Well I guess I should use this on a dish.” I did the razor clams with that sauce, which I call the salsa roja. It was pretty neat.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.