I have often passed Pomodoro Ristorante on Eastlake and noticed one thing in particular that made me want to give it a try — Late night Tapas! Knowing that is a traditional Spanish cuisine consisting of tasty, small dishes of various appetizer-type foods, my curiosity got the better of me when an Italian restaurant was offering these as well. It turns out that Pomodoro Ristorante features southern-European dishes, so its menu includes Italian and Spanish ingredients and styles. Although they are often ordered just as appetizers with drinks, tapas can easily replace a complete meal if you sample several items. Experimenting with a variety of tapas dishes with a friend can be adventurous and filling.
The décor of the restaurant is warm and inviting, with lots of two and four pe rson tables, although I did notice that seating for a large crowd was easy to accommodate. I like that Pomodoro Ristorante has an open kitchen. I admit that I have been to some places where this feature grosses me out. However at Pomodoro you can see the attention and care that the chef puts into each dish.
The bread served before the meal is different from the roll and butter routine you normally get at restaurants. Bread, which feels more like sliced white bread is served with a pesto sauce to use as a smear.
My girlfriend and I definitely lean more to Italian tastes so we headed in that direction with our pastas dishes. However, we did go “Spanish” with the appetizer — Tortitas de Centolla. These Dungeness crab cakes served with aioli and smoked olive oil made a fantastic first impression.
Our first pasta was Tortellini alla Vodka, which consisted of tortellini pasta tossed with shrimp and vodka cream sauce. The cheese fill tortellini was cooked perfectly al dente and the vodka sauce was a great creamy compliment. The only complaint about this dish was the baby shrimp. They were simply unimpressive. Perhaps they are tossed in with the sauce and pasta to make a seemingly boring dish more exciting but these tiny shrimp disappeared under the heavy sauce. All you’re left with are small lumps in the sauce which don’t taste like shrimp. I would rather have no shrimp at all or have large shrimp so that they can be distinguished from other items on the plate.
The second pasta dish we shared was Linguine Carbonara. Despite having pancetta in this pasta dish, I found it somewhat bland — it had no wow factor. I have since noticed that this dish is no longer on the menu. Perhaps the chef felt the same way.
I’m sort of at a crossroads with Pomodoro Ristorante. The pastas were good, at least the tortellini would be worth another try, however there was nothing about these pasta dishes in particular that would warrant a rave review. On the other hand, the crab cake appetizer was fantastic. Is this indicative of the rest of the tapas? The only way to find out is to go back, try more tapas and write a second review.