‘Latin Kitchen’ dropped from name, seating capacity doubled

Comida relocates from Camden to Rockland, refocuses menu

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 10:00am

ROCKLAND — Comida restaurant, formerly of Camden, is to open at 421 Main Street in Rockland at the end of next week, according to owner and chef Tom Sigler. The new version of the restaurant owned by Tom and his wife, Lisa, will focus more on the cuisine of Spain and less on that of Latin America. 

The restaurant’s seating capacity is much larger than the Camden spot, which Sigler described as being about the size of the entire new Rockland kitchen. In Camden, 21 diners would sit inside, while another 14 would occupy the patio. In Rockland, 37 diners may sit in the street level area while 20 to 24 more will fill the finished basement below. 

The Rockland Comida will have a full bar, and air conditioning will cool the hot days of summer. Behind the scenes changes include a new restaurant-size cooler instead of the three household-size refrigerators, and a stove with 10 burners instead of the previous four.

When Sigler started the Comida Latin Kitchen in Camden, he altered his menu to fit the space provided. With the expansion and new appliances, including a grill, Sigler can act upon his creative tastes.

Sigler is considering black bean hummus with cilantro gremolata (a play on the traditional gremolata typically made with parsley), olives marinated in house, mussels, oysters, sangria granita — sangria put in an ice cream machine then shaved on top of each oyster. There will also be fish wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in coconut milk, with onions, red bell pepper, and garlic on top.

Lobster, shrimp, meats and produce will fill the menu, along with a taco-of-the-day, all with Spanish flavors.

“I’ve never seen produce as good as we get up here,” he said. “It’s absolutely phenomenal. As far as the seafood goes, as far as the farmers that we use, it’s amazing. We’ve developed some good relationships with farmers. People grow stuff for us, which is even cooler. It’s kind of like a little cooking nirvana in the Midcoast area.”

Sigler, who grew up near Washington, D.C., started his secondary education at Clemson College in South Carolina majoring in philosophy and biology.

As a self-described very hungry college student, he wondered how he could get paid for his cooking and eating. He took a year off, worked 60-hour weeks in a restaurant, then enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. The cooking school fueled the fire and made him even more dedicated to the craft.

Sigler worked in Florida, Maryland and New York before arriving in Camden. He has always gravitated toward the bold Latin and Spanish flavors.

“Even when I was working French restaurants, and I’d be in charge of making a family meal, I would always end up making something like paella,” he said.

Comida will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday until July when they go seven days a week.

For more information, visit comidarestaurant.com.