Photos by Patti Hale
Step into Tomáš Tapas Bar & Restaurant at 900 Route 376 in Wappingers Falls and prepare to be transported by the warmth—and elegance—of the room, the food and the people. There to greet you is a friendly and courteous team that includes owners Lynn and Tomáš Monoši (the š is pronounced “sh”).
Be seated in a chair designed to keep you comfortable for hours and peruse a menu of assorted Tapas—appetizers, hot and cold—to be enjoyed individually or shared, from mushroom caps to marinated steak, crostini to arancini, nachos to escargot.
Among their dinner menu entrées are in-house dry-aged steaks sliced to order, lamb chops, paella, fresh potato gnocchi, plus several salad options and side dishes.
In addition to their regular menu, their bar menu offers fingers foods such as skewers, kababs and sliders, plus a variety of nachos, gourmet flatbreads, crostini, chicken wings and burgers (including veggie). A favorite is the halal beef burger with truffled parmesan fries.
Chef Tomáš—who loves his giant custom-built smoker and mobile charcoal grill and roaster—is forever experimenting with flavors and creative specials, including gluten-free and vegan options.
New to the Menu
Among his latest adventures are Yak and Mangalica meats, positioning Tomáš as the only Hudson Valley restaurant now serving them. He’s also been busy perfecting Eastern European-inspired salami/sausage making and homemade pancetta cured with dill. Be sure to sample the handcrafted charcuterie board along with locally produced cheeses and local farm-sourced fruits and vegetables.
Savor house-made pork chorizo chopped in his famous paella, as a crispy crunch with sea scallops, broiled with rice and beans, and blended with ground beef in his handmade chorizo burger. Another popular new menu item is salmon three ways: tartar, wet cured and hickory-wood smoked. It is served with creamy flavored fresh cheese, toast and pickled cucumber—and a little extra smoke tableside!
One of the dedicated servers at Tomáš recently returned from a visit to her home country with an authentic Moroccan tagine and native spices. Since then, Tomáš has been perfecting an earthy and colorful dish that layers aromatics, meat and vegetables. It’s served over authentic couscous in a rich, flavorful sauce and topped with crispy whole almonds for a wonderful crunch. Using beef or lamb garnished with prunes is a sweet and savory melt-in-your-mouth meal.
The Bar and Breezway
Those seeking a great place to relax with an innovative cocktail should take a seat at their custom-designed bar (created and built by Lynn and Tomáš), where the area’s best bartenders serve up some of the finest cocktails in the Hudson Valley, such as the fig cosmo and caipirinha, and a wide selection of on-tap beers, including Czech and Austrian varieties. They even have a martini menu, with specials on “Martini Mondays.”
Don’t miss the live performances by local musicians on Friday and Saturday evenings. If you like al fresco dining, you’ll love the full-service outdoor tables in the breezeway, where your dog is welcome to join. Lynn and Tomáš even treat their four-legged guests to special fresh-baked dog biscuits.
The Road to Restaurateur
The path to opening in 2012 was no easy one. Tomáš was born and raised in Czechoslovakia, then under communist rule. He attended a vocational high school, where he did so well studying tableside-serving skills that he won first place in a countrywide competition. After graduation and a two-year tour in the Army, he returned home to “a country in chaos” following Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” against Communism. His mom handed him an ad for a job on a cruise ship. “Three weeks later I was on a plane to Miami,” he says.
After three years, he went home again but just “couldn’t integrate back into the community,” he recalls. “People had changed. They couldn’t see it, but I could.” So he told his family, “I am going to America, and I am going to make it.”
And so he did. Off to New York he went, with only $525 and a book of names and numbers of cruise passengers who had encouraged him to stay in touch. One of them, from Poughkeepsie, helped him find his first area job at a local diner. He hustled in various other jobs too, including a twice-weekly meat truck drive to the Bronx. Soon, he found himself cooking dinner for friends in their homes. By 2005, he had made a name for himself and was catering large parties and weddings out of their home kitchen, which they quickly outgrew.
Lynn and Tomáš bought and managed a cafe/bakery, which they also used for catering operations. But it didn’t complete their vision to create a casual, fun, upscale destination in their neighborhood offering simple yet flavorful food with an international flare. Today, that dream is complete, and Tomáš and Lynn are grateful for the local support from customers who they call family.
For a rare opportunity to sample, buffet style, a variety of Tomáš’s creative approaches, make your Easter and Mother’s Day brunch reservations. Or join them for a good cause and experience his barbeque-style flavors on May 19 for the DC10-13 Foundation Annual BBQ Fundraiser for law enforcement families in need. Get your tickets at Eventbrite.com.
Tomáš’s Tapas Bar & Restaurant
900 NY-376, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590