I was immediately drawn to the Mexican-style menu at Bodega Taco Bar in Fairfield, CT. There were options for many little plates, as well as larger entrees. The taco selection ranged from panko crusted mahi mahi to hanger steak to ancho shrimp to the traditional ground beef with a not-so-traditional nutty manchego cheese.
I started with the jumbo lump crabmeat guacamole, which was a special for the evening, served with their homemade crispy tortilla chips playfully presented in a brown paper bag. The guacamole was creamy, light and packed just the right amount of heat and the crabmeat was fresh, flavorful and a perfect compliment to the avocados.
Next, I dug into a delicious portabella mushroom and truffle cheese empanada which delivered a rich, meaty taste.
I eagerly tried the blistered brussel sprouts that came highly recommended by our hostess. I can see why. They were marinated in a pineapple and agave reduction and tossed with salt and parmesan. The often-unfavorable vegetable really hit its stride with this combination. They were charred on the outside, yet tender on the inside and took my taste buds on a journey through smokey, sweet and tangy with a nice coating of salt similar to a french fry. I would happily make a meal out of this side dish.
Another standout was the Bodega grilled corn on the cob topped with crema (Mexican sour cream), cojita cheese, lime aoili and finished with ancho chili dust. So delicious, I ordered a second plate…and licked that one clean too.
My meal was rounded out by their refreshing strawberry-cilantro margarita, just one from an extensive list of choices using only fresh ingredients. You won’t see sour mix at this taco bar.
I was particularly impressed with the attentive hostess and knowledgeable waitstaff, who answered my ingredient trivia without hesitation. Mostly, they were excited about the food and eager to make suggestions. The restaurant was cozy and full of life, with room to navigate even through the sizeable crowd. We sat at a fun, high top table and I was particularly delighted by the handbag hooks next to our seats to keep my purse comfortable while I dined. The atmosphere, flavor combinations and servers at Bodega create an inviting dynamic, and I look forward to returning in the near future.