Monday, October 11, 2010

La Bodega

A while back LaCrone wrote a post on the Clean Plate Club blog about places in town he was ashamed he'd never eaten at. I commented on that post listing 3 places, Plaza III, The Majestic and The Savoy. But I left off La Bodega (703 Southwest Blvd., KCMO), that's just how much it was buried in my mind as a place to eat. Well that changed recently as Stella and I finally thought of it when we were trying to decide where to eat dinner.

chorizo y pollo
We got there during their happy hour which includes about 15 of their small plate entrees at half price and half price beer and sangria as well as 10 wines served for $5 a glass. Wes Port wrote a nice little post about the happy hour a couple of years ago on the KC Beer Blog. As we sat down we only knew they had a good happy hour, we hadn't looked at a menu before and didn't know quite what to expect. It was a little overwhelming at first since neither of us knows our Spanish food very well. We decided that we would each get 2 plates on our own and then share 1 and see where we stood when we were done with that. I ordered the calamares a la plancha (sauteed squid in olive oil, garlic and lemon sauce) and patatas bravo (potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce). I was very close to ordering the pimientos rellenos de piquillo (red peppers stuffed with rice and ahi tuna) but when I looked in the regular menu I saw that it was served cold. Cold rice dishes don't appeal to me unless it's sushi plus it was a little bit cold the evening we went and I wanted something a little more hot and spicy. Stella got the pincho de pollo y chorizo (skewer of chicken and chorizo) and datiles con jamon y chorizo (dates wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with chorizo). If there's a dish with stuffed dates on the menu, Stella's going to order it. We decided to share an order of pintxos de higo (roasted red peppers, goat cheese and a fig coulis on grilled bread). Again, if you have a fig dish on your menu, Stella's going to order it. We also each got a red sangria.

Our food came out in under 5 minutes. The calamares looked wonderful, a nice departure from the battered and fried version you normally see. A nice pile of rice accompanied the squid. I was unprepared for the size of the patatas bravo, this was no small plate, it was a full plate of potato quarters covered in a rich looking chunky tomato sauce. Stella's pollo y chorizo skewers were a bit puny, the jamon y chorizo was 5 dates that looked quite fabulous and the pintxos de higo contained 3 slices of bread with a healthy smattering of goat cheese and fig coulis.

Patatas bravas, you must eat this
Let's start off with the weakest of the bunch, the calamares. There's a reason squid is usually fried, it's because it's hard to get much flavor into the meat.
The whole thing was a bit bland, not bad tasting or anything, just the weakest of the items we got. Despite the small size of the pollo y chorizo, Stella enjoyed it thoroughly. But what she really loved were the dates. I had to sheepishly ask if I could try half of one and she kindly let me. They were like candy which is the only thing bad I can say about them, because they were much more of a dessert type item than a dinner entree. I could barely taste the chorizo in them and Stella said the same. The pintxos de higo were wonderful, the goat cheese and fig is a classic combination for a reason. On to the star, the patatas bravo. I loved every bit of it. If you go to La Bodega and don't get the patatas bravas. I have to say you failed. This should be a side dish at every restaurant in town, there should be a food truck slinging bravas parked in Westport, I should see a bravas stand at every festival around town. Bravas does for the potato wedge what poutine does for the french fry. I don't think I could have spent a better $3 anywhere in town. The tomato sauce on the potatoes was a perfect bit of spicy with the tomato's natural sweetness. The potatoes had a nice bit of crisp on the skin and were light and fluffy inside. It was just a pretty wonderful little combination.

pintxos de higo
Since Stella didn't get the patatas bravas she was still hungry after her dishes and had to get an order of albóndigas caseras (meatballs in a garlic cream sauce). We also each got a white sangria. I snacked on the leftover bread from the breadbasket and worked on finishing the potatoes. The bread was some kind of wonderful as well since they had olive oil and basalmic vinegar on the table. I love some bread with oil and vinegar. I didn't like the white sangria as much as the red and I'll probably order beer next time. Stella liked the white better than the red. Sangria's not really my thing so Stella's taste is probably more correct. She enjoyed her meatballs and conceded that she probably should have had them instead of the pollo y chorizo.

Finally full we got our check to which we were going to use some credit we had built up on our KC Originals card and pay the rest with a credit card. The waitress informed us that we could only use our Originals credit on the only full priced item we got and only on half of that. So instead of being able to use our entire credit we could only use $4. The KC Originals has no such rule that you can only use your credit on full priced items, La Bodega just doesn't want to redeem your credits, so keep that in mind. It makes me only want to redeem points at La Bodega just because they want to make up rules. It soiled an otherwise wonderful experience at La Bodega. It also soils the KC Originals card which we love using. The restaurants love to give you the points but, at least in La Bodega's case, are looking to screw you over when you try to redeem your points. Just know that no rule about redeeming points only on full priced items does not exist.

Other than the points redeeming thing, La Bodega is a must visit place to eat in KC and the patatas bravas is a must order there.


Chimpotle said...

It's also worth pointing out that they will be opening a location at 119th & Roe for those that don't get to or don't want to get down to SW Blvd.

Matt E said...

The Majestic was actually the first place I ate at in Kansas City. My first interview in town took me there for lunch. It was okay, I guess... haven't been back.

Also, I love the Manny's bashing on LaCrone's post. It is the Taco Bell of SW Blvd.

Alex J. said...

Regarding Plaza III, it was good, but you're not missing anything spectacular.

The DLC said...

I like La Bodega pretty well but the price can be pretty steep if you don't go for Happy Hour. It also gets loud as hell in that dining room when it fills up. When you sit outside the traffic on the overpass can be really annoying. Jeez maybe I'm just overly sensitive to noise.

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