Did I mention I love Tapas. I know why I enjoy it but the operative question of the day is what is Tapas? Without divulging too much of the history; Tapas are appetizers that usually accompany sherry, aperitifs or cocktails throughout Spain in bars and restaurants. The Spanish philosophy being “Eat when you drink, drink when you eat”. Tapas food is basically locally grown, seasonal ingredients presented with a creative flair, be it simple items such as olives, thinly sliced ham or chorizo, and Spanish cheese to more elaborate preparations like omelets, snails, stuffed peppers, and even roasted lamb or beef.
The reason why I relish it? It is an amazing array of finger food designed to encourage comradeship in a relaxed atmosphere where food is a ‘part’ of the evening and not the entire experience.
El Bodegon Tapas & Wine is a family owned restaurant which hits it right on spot with this ideology. The focus truly is on good food, warm ambiance, and most importantly great company. Whether you are celebrating an occasion, having Sunday supper with family, or simply hanging with friends/colleagues at happy hour; El Bodegon strives to create a warm and intimate ambiance which fits all.
Initially, at first glance the menu does seem limited, especially since I am used cosmopolitan restaurants offering a multitude of dishes. By the end of my meal, I had to admit that keeping the menu limited ensures that every dish coming out of the kitchen is cooked with care and served with the same passionate zealous, Spaniards are most well-known for.
We ordered House made Chorizo, Patatas Brava, Honey Tripe, Clams in Marinara Sauce, and Leg of Lamb with Wine Sauce.
The Honey Tripe was cooked to perfection, melting in your mouth basted with a garlicky bean sauce. If you could get past the name of the dish, you actually just might enjoy it.
The Chorizo was flambéed in Brandy making an impressive entry. The description stated house made but I have my reservations about that.
The Clams in Marinara Sauce – Hmm! What is with the ‘marinara sauce’? I was dissuaded from ordering the dish and I am so glad didn’t. The sauce was basically heavy on garlic with a sweet tomato sauce and onions; making it a deep flavored vessel for the clams. I had to request more bread to sop the wonderful sauce.
The Patatas Bravas were spiced adequately though I detected a hint of hot sauce?
The Leg of Lamb was literally falling of the bone and the sauce too was nicely flavored. El Bodegon isn’t shy on garlic, I see.
For dessert, we sampled the Poached Pears in Rioja Sauce with Ice cream and Crema Catalana – Spanish version of Crème Brule. The pears were poached in this addictive rioja sauce which was an ideal accompaniment for the ice cream. The Crème Brule was perfectly caramelized though I have had creamier versions.
In this fast paced world to some, the service at El Bodegon might seem slow but to me they are creating a comfortable atmosphere where we in a manner of speaking our forced to relax and enjoy our food and stimulating company.
Over all the dishes stay close to the Spanish roots and the chef has done a phenomenal job of maintaining authenticity in the dishes served at El Bodegon. Bravo!!
For your next gastronomical venture, head over to El Bodegon. It very well might become your favorite happy hour destination.