When people ask me "Hey, where should we eat today?", without a second thought I'll reply Bodega immediately. It's one of those places I've grown to love because how well they do their food. It's ability to get friends together and stimulate conversation is unparalleled and when you get a spot on top of the bar, you get to see how genius translates from kitchen to plate.
We started off with Sonoma bread and fruity olive oil. Key note: do save some of the bread because they you'll have something to mop up the deliciousness later on.
|Mushrooms with Garlic|
I apologise, this is the half eaten plate because in all my excitement I forgot to take a picture. I've had a lot of mushrooms in my days as a foodie, but none are done as brilliantly as this. These are done to perfection, garlicky, oily, nutty and just so bloody deliciously. Bread comes in handy to mop up the creamy sauce and oil. Be a little brave and pop some of the garlic out of their skins. Your taste-bud's will be rewarded.
|Fried Spiced Calamari with Aioli|
What separates this from other plain old fried calamari is a little spiking of paprika. Simple as that. What results is a heady intoxicating perfume that's just as delectable as it is aromatic. A generous blob of thick aioli does wonders to the dish as well.
|"Fish Fingers": Kingfish Sashimi on Garlic Toast with Cuttlefish Ceviche and Mojama|
|Slow Cooked Lamb Loins with Criolla Salsa, Roast Garlic Miso and Olive Crumbs|
I initially ordered something with salmon but I changed my mind halfway after seeing how these ribs were prepared. Pretty glad I did. Smoky lamb crackling hides a gorgeously fatty interior and tender meat. Give it traditional Argentinian flavours like eggplant puree, salsa and olive crumbs and that makes nearly everyone happy. Probably not the best ribs I've had (Refer to Lamb Ribs at Ms G's) but pretty damn close.
|Cheesecake with Carrot Icecream, Crumbs and Blackcurrant Reduction|
Bodega is anything but flawless, but what does do right far outweighs what it does wrong. All dishes pleasantly surprise with whimsical and clever combinations, rustic and shareable. Some work, some don't, but that's half the fun; going through the menu and trying something just because another table ordered it, then figuring out whether that was a good idea. Be careful though, I remain adamant that you can leave with a relatively small $30 bill each but that aforementioned dish spotting enthusiasm can really make the bill shoot up. There's not an ounce of stiff pretension; loud music and and a lively modern appearance contribute to the bouncy and fun ambience. I'll be the first to say, chef hat or not, this place is one of, if not my favourite restaurant.
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