Tuesday, March 9, 2010
El Bodegon Tapas Bar
***ED Note: looks like El Bodegon is closed for business as of August 2010***
We went totally in a different direction for lunch the other day, in food and location, and went to Fishers to try out El Bodegon. I love the idea of tapas (small plates) because you get to try lots of flavors without too much of a commitment. And this place has lots of options, with plates starting at $1.00 (for a slice of Serrano ham or manchego cheese on a piece of bread.)
We started out ordering what we thought was quite a bit of food for the two of us for lunch, but ended up ordering even more. We ordered the aforementioned Serrano ham and Manchego which were both really good. I think I like Serrano ham even better then the Italian Prosciutto, in general I think it has more flavor. The bread they were slicing and using as a base was also really nice bread. It was sort of like a baguette in size, but has a slight chewiness to it that went really nicely with the various toppings. In this first round we also ordered a beef empanada, some anchovies (on bread as well), the tortilla (or sliced potato and egg dish) and the garlic shrimp.
The empanada was a little bland, although obviously handmade and quite lovely to look at, it needed a little something to jazz it up. Maybe a tangy sauce or some onions (ok, maybe that isn’t authentic, I don’t know, but still). It was clearly the weakest thing. The garlic shrimp were the best thing on the table and hubby promptly ordered another dish as soon as we gobbled up the first round (there are only 3 small shrimp on the tapa plate). There were large hunks of toasty garlic which were the best part. Those combined with the shrimp and the garlic-y olive oil were outstanding. They also offer these shrimp as an entrée which would be something I would seriously consider ordering in the future.
The tortilla was just ok, also needed a little jazzing up. It was a wedge of a traditional Spanish tortilla, slices of potato stacked on top of each other and held together with egg. I have had really good ones before, but I can’t for the life of me tell you what about them made them so other than I guess they must have just had more seasoning. The anchovies were just canned anchovies on the bread. They were good, as far as canned anchovies go. I was sort of hoping for those beautiful white anchovies you see in Europe, but I guess that was asking too much.
In our second round, we also ordered an arepa, which is a corn meal based sort of mini sandwich. They have Venezuelan arepas and Columbia arepas which are different in style (the Colombian ones being thinner, more almost like a tortilla). At our waiter’s recommendation, we ordered one of the Venezuelan ones, which sort of reminded me of a biscuit made with corn meal. Sort of like a cross between a biscuit and corn bread. It was dense, and had a wonderful crispy exterior. I really liked this aspect of it. We got one with seasoned shredded meat and avocado. Had a slightly Mexican flavor about it—with the shredded meat and avocado and corn meal. It was tasty, although it needed one more thing to make it really stand out for me. There was one on the menu that included chicken, avocado and mayo which I would like to try, because the mayo might just be enough to take it that next step.
Just for fun, we also had a glass of wine which we also enjoyed. They serve Spanish wines, and it was a simple wine, but if you closed your eyes, ate your food and sipped the wine, and listened to the music playing, you could feel like you were in a little restaurant in Spain, and not in the middle of a strip mall in Fishers. Something about the wine reminded me of house wines you get in any little café in Spain. Now, this is not to say the interior of this restaurant is going to wow you (I said, close your eyes). It is very simple, and frankly, a little barren in spots, but there are a few areas that are very nicely laid out, like the little shelves full of Spanish products for sale. It could use a little softening up, maybe some curtains or carpet, but then again, lots of places in Spain would be similarly decorated I am sure. The food also has some Venezuelan and Colombian variations (the various arepas etc.) The owners are making an effort to bring the foods they know to Indy diners. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of diners there, although there were always at least a couple of other tables. It is also kind of hidden on the backside of a strip mall near Wal Mart, so they also probably don’t get a lot of drive by customers.
I love having somewhere different to go, with lots of menu options, including a different lunch special every day. Nothing there was amazing, but it was unique and this City needs more diversity. The spice of life and everything right?
El Bodegon Tapas Bar
8510 East 96th Street
Fishers, IN 46037