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Bodega Taco Bar Opens in Fairfield

BODEGA: hispanic/spanish/:Latin mini-mart, kind of like a 7-11, but usually smaller and more like a liquor store atmosphere. The word came from the actual Spanish word for "grocery store"- le bodega.  

The following are two takes on opening night @ Bodega Taco Bar in Fairfield, the 1st by Stephanie Webster, the 2nd by a new CTbites contributor, Emily Sackett. 

Chef Michael Young, owner of the popular Valencia Luncheria, is expanding his cult following and heading to Fairfield. His highly anticipated new venture, Bodega Taco Bar, opened this week at 1700 Post Road representing a culinary journey from Venezuela to Mexico. The concept? "Tacos and tequila with a slice of Brooklyn" says Young. The new menu features Mexican beach food… tacos, tortas, and well priced platos. Loyal Valencia diners will find that the menu retains the casually vibrant Latin American flavors they have come to crave, but at Bodega Taco Bar, breezy cabana meets bar scene chic resulting in tacos with a playfully upscale twist.  

From the old typewriter font on the menu to the chiclets handed out with the check, Bodega screams hip, a welcome vibe in the Fairfield County dining scene. Reclaimed wood bleachers from a Yale stadium line the walls, while exposed bulbs illuminate the brushed metal and wood detailing around the eye-catching 12 seat bar. Key to the brand, Chef Young has created a masterful drinks menu with over 50 tequilas, and a wide array of inventive cocktails. The "papaya king" (tito's vodka, papaya, jarritos grapefruit soda) and the "natalie portman" (centenario "roseangel" tequila, lemon juice, agave, and cava are just a few of the clever selections.  

And the food…for Antojitos, or "little cravings," the Arepa with hoisin glazed pork belly and green onion was an ingenious play on a classic Asian bun with rich pork enveloped in a fresh corn cake. Chef Young's signature Ceviche de Mariscos is always worth an order, featuring succulent seafood in a tangy citrus marinade. And for my money, you really can't leave without eating the Bodega Grilled Corn with cotija cheese, lime, and ancho chili dust.  

Under the tacos section, you'll find some of the usual suspects but almost every taco reveals ingredients that surprise or surpass the standard fillers. The Baja was a standout with perfectly fried panko crusted mahi mahi and pico de gallo, elevated with a touch of lemon aioli, while the Gambas taco with seared ancho chili shrimp is animated with a flavorful cucumber-mango salsa. 

Platos ("principal plates") are served a la carte with intriguing sides like smashed roasted beets, grilled avocado, and pork and beans. Although Bodega bills itself as a taco joint, it was the Platos that delivered audible sounds of delight. The Camarones "Enchilados" was the ultimate comfort food with a kick. This dish featured spicy shrimp nestled in creamy arroz con creme mexicana and crisp mango-jicama salad, a textural tour de force. The Short Ribs with chocolatey pasilla chili braise and sweet buttery pozole mash were also decadently satisfying.

I had declared this last dish dessert until I got wind of Bodega's actual "dessert," and there's only one…Pastel Impossible (impossible cake). Flan on top, caramel infused chocolate cake on the bottom…enough said. Go try it for yourself.


Tacos and Tequila Steal a Fairfield Corner @ Bodega

by Emily Sackett

Over the past year or so, we’ve seen a steady flow of urban-style eateries shack up in lower Fairfield Country. Yet another city-slicker opens its doors tonight, filling a void for the much-needed combo of taco and tequila in the area. Bodega Taco Bar is a modern and unexpected Taquería open now in the former What’s Cooking space in Fairfield.

A first in Fairfield for authentic Mexican, Bodega is a great spot if you’re looking to switch it up from the more standard cuisine in the neighborhood. Slightly less sexy than its peers to the south (Red Lulu in SoNo and Lolita Cocina in Greenwich), but surprisingly bright and airy for a long-time deli-zoned storefront, Bodega is sure to spice up the already taste-tested Post Road. 

The focus of Young's new venue is simple - tacos and tequila - but he delivers much more than that. A sizeable tequila list dominates the cocktail menu alongside several sweeter options such as the Rosita - a plum flavored margarita seasoned with a hibiscus blossom, otherwise known as the flirt flower. You also have the option of sticking to beer while dining at the low-key but hip hideout. A selection of Mexican and American craft bottles can be served michelda style. The ethnic influence doesn't stop there. If you're not in the mood to imbibe, we encourage you to pick from the selection of Mexican sodas or Cuban milkshakes available. And if you're dining with a group, no fear! It wouldn't be a Mexican joint without a bucket of Coronitas or pitchers of Sangria, right?

The ambiance is exactly what you would hope for when looking to duck in for a quick swig of Milagro or a quick fix of fried plantains. Six wooden table tops dot the entry and bar height two-tops keep patrons hovering over their Patrón while facing the main attraction, a fully stocked (with tequila of course) bar illuminated by old fashioned exposed bulbs overhead. The whole scene makes for an overall rustic and authentic look–one you’d never expect visiting the neighbor of long-time Fairfield staple Hands on Pottery.

We swung by for a first bite (and sip) of Fairfield's addition to a small but steadily growing footprint of fiesta-ready foodie havens. Bodega's two-sided menu devotes equal space to the liquid and solid creations of Chef Young. For a first taste, we stayed true to the promise of Bodega's namesake and set out on a traditional journey through what proved to be a very delicious meal. First up, "Tres Salsas" with home baked tortilla chips–three options of fresh, savory and sweet served side by side in the form of a traditional pico de gallo, black bean puree and mango-cucumber salsa.

Next up, a surprisingly unique take on an Empanada appetizer–Portabella mushroom and truffle cheese melted inside a large flour-based empanada tortilla made for a creamy meets earthy starter and a diversion from a much less mild main dish. We went with a selection of tacos (namely, all of them) for our main dish. Side by side, Young served up the Baja (mahi-mahi), the Cochinta Piibil (slow-roasted pork), the Pepito (a poblano/veggie option), el Pastor (chicken with grilled pineapple salsa), Gambal (seared ancho chili shrimp), Argentino (steak, what else!) and Americano (traditional ground beef). Our favorite was the panko-crusted mahi mahi, nestled in a soft shell alongside pico de gallo and a delicious lemon aioli finish. 

Bodega has a healthy offering of sides, including their take on street corn and the staple yucca fries. There's only one way to finish at Bodega, and that's with Chef Young's sole dessert option, a chocolate flan, or as he likes to call it, Pastel Imposible!

As for the other dishes on the menu (Young goes way beyond "Tacos and Tequila"), well, we'll let you decide!

Bodega is located at 1700 Post Road in Fairfield.  203 929 9590.

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Reader Comments (24)

welcome to Bodega in Fairfield! Lots o'options for vegetarians with these bright flavors and fresh ingredients.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz R

Beautiful space, can't wait to hang out at that bar. Welcome to the neighborhood, Bodega.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Kundrat

Ate there Saturday night. . ALL GREAT -- food, drinks, decor . . I'm very psyched they have Michelada's. . my fave. . . a welcome addition to Fairfield. You'd never expect to find this place in Heritage Square. Now if they could only fix up Heritage Square on the outside. . .

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy V

As a Fairfield resident I couldn't be more excited about Bodega. Thank you Michael Young for bringing your talents to this part of Fairfield County.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoan W

they hired all illegal immigrants for the kitchen, per usual in a new restaurant, but you would think people would want the places they eat to be stimulating local economy, not taking away from it.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterttt

how would you have any idea of the citizenship status of each of the kitchen staff?

As a big fan of Valencia and resident of Fairfield, I too cannot wait to stop by Bodega.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermike d

i go to valencia weekly for lunch. yesterday i did the double - valencia lunch and bodega dinner. one-two punch of awesomeness. you have to have the grilled ear of corn witch a dusting of chilli and crumbled cheese. two thumbs up.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjd

The food is very tasty, however the service especially the bartender needs some training in etiquette. When I came in and sat at the bar waiting for someone to arrive I ordered a Mojito. The first words out of the bartenders mouth was ''I wish I knew who the inventor of this drink was so I can punch him in the mouth''. Not what you would expect for a place that just opened up. F.Y.I. very light alcohol in the drinks. If you want a true Mojito with alcohol and no attitude go to Ola in Orange.

Also the server who brought us our food brought the wrong order. No explanations, no sorry. I realize this a taco bar but if this is the case I'd rather go to Tacquera La Michoacana for ''HALF THE PRICE'' in Bridgeport.

The food when it finally did arrive was good. I always give places 2 tries but they better get someone out there in the ''front of the house'' or Bodega Taco Bar will be ''HISTORIA'' in Fairfield

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPD Chef

One word… Superb.

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWestport Foodie

Went to the Bodega Monday night around nine, thinking it was a taqueria and that it would be hopefully empty of patrons.

Upon entering I saw that I had entered THE HIPPEST COLLEGE BAR IN FAIRFIELD.

The place was PACKED, I got the last table and although I was getting over a cold and was not drinking (big mistake, this place is PARTEEEEEE CENTRAL...this place just makes you JONES Tequila, I've been thinking about it ever since) I did quite enjoy the tacos American (yes I'm boring). The cheese added an unepected nice flavor and the whole thing was extremely tasty. I was seated near the kitchen and watched each entree as it was produced, and this is all gourmet stuff. Small amounts of good food, after consuming multiple drinks made of Tequila is Bodegas plan for success, and it is succeeding wildly. To tell you how good it is, I'm thinking of going back to try hitting on some of the amazingly comely 20-somethings that have made this place an instant home away from home, and I'm in my mid-40's!

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I had read the posts to date and was certainly looking forward to the opening of a new authentic restaurant...... so some of my family and I went recently to try it out. While the restaurant seems to be off to a great start, I must say that we won't be back. We left very bummed out since we wanted to add a new place to our list of dining out establishments. We found the quality of the food to be "fair" and the portions quite small.Among the items we tried, we thought the guacamole was nowhere near one of the better local ones and the tacos were very small and lacked any distinct flavor that would make them stand out...........others so far think otherwise ( at least those who have written in) but I wonder whether there are folks who have tried it who also won't be going back. Again, I wanted to rave about it so we went in with real positive feelings.

June 22, 2011 | Registered Commentertst

One more thing.....

The owner, Michael, is the closest thing we have around here to a celebrity chef....and he knows it.

However, he couldn't be more accomodating.

He gave me my own table immdeiately, although the restaurant was packed, I was alone, and he gave me a tavle for two. After tasting the food, he received my compliments with just the right touch of pride and grace.

Michael is a high class individual, and he has an amazing and wonderous thing going at Bodega, it's a real step up socially from the arepa place in Norwalk, and he is and will succeed wildly here, and this will be a launching pad for future success, because he knows what he's doing and it's all going right at Bodega.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Hunter

This is a place for those with both an abiding thirs for Tequila as well as good pickup game.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Hunter

Love the hip look but not the price! Over $50 for tacos and 1 beer each? No mas for me!

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene

Yes Marlene it's true this is no cheapo-mex option; this is a cool and upscale take on the whole taco/tequila thing....

My money-saving adaptation = I bought a bottle of Chinaco Blanco at my friend Roberts store Bottles, and I poured Tequila at my leisure all weekend long:) Arrrribbbbba!

I don't mind the money at Bodega....but the essential absence of "salsa" as we know it is a thing I may not be able to relate to long term. Has anyone asked if they sell bowls of gringo-salsa for those of us who love to drown our tacos in the stuff?

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Chris: My review was short & sweet & left out 2 things. I totally agree with you, we all wanted salsa, a great big bowl of it with some more damn chips! And I say no mas but I may have to return to try the corn & the cake! So maybe I'll make a margarita at in for a nibble...return home for a 2nd drink! lol

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene


You're my kind of girl:)

July 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris

went to Bodega Taco a few weeks ago, and it was awesome!! 2d favorite restuarant next to Valencia Luncheria.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterscott

Dined at Bodega for the first time this week and found the overall experience to be less than expected. While the
tequila selection was more than adequate for the vast majority, and the atmosphere charming; we were not particularly pleased with the food and drink preparation. Specialty drinks, while made-to-order, involved the mixing of very small measured amounts of alcohol (using a small shot cup). Their signature margarita the bodegarita for $9 had less than 4 generous swallows in a small heavily-iced glass. Freshly squeezed lime, triple sec and tequila are all thats required to make a margarita.... the agave syrup just makes everything to sweet. Mixed drinks were prepared in the same fashion - loads of ice, small amounts of alcohol and/or mixers, small glasses - large price tags. Neat pours of tequila came in a larger measured shot format - with all but 3 tequilas carrying double digit shot pricing (Don Julio for example thats sold for $59 for a 1.5 Liter bottle goes for $15 a shot). A little heavy-handed on the pricing schedule for sure. All the plates looked colorful and creative - we looked forward to digging into the South American influenced Mexican style. The ceviche with the warm "gordita' style salted corncake was superb.
Conversely the $15 mahi-mahi was a fairly small piece of fish on a small bed of asparagus - plain and simple - more of a lunch size order. The tacos everyone had been raving over are CD-sized cool/cold corn tortillas with a few tablespoons of pre-prepared stuffings. We sampled a number of them and didn't find any of them to be very appetizing. Adding a squirt of salsa verde or Tajin helped. The sides at $4 each or 3 for $10 is where Bodega shines.... the asparagus, brussel sprouts, and platanos were nicely portioned, hot and tasty. In the end we felt we needed to go out for a real drink and some more food... $100 plus dollars lighter.

July 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTodd


When I decided that I wanted to drink some Tequila, after going once to Bodega and ordering lightly, what I do is, I buy a bottle of Chinaco blanco, or perhaps Corzo blanco at retail, and just stomp around the crash pad with the stereo cranked doing shots.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

horrible experience rude staff, food was nothing to write home about. got sick in the middle of the night.
VEGETARIANS BEWARE they put raw egg whites in their margaritas - disgusting!!

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjj

Ended up taking out the food because we waited over and hour which was fine considering it was a Friday at 8:00. They threw in some free sodas which was quite nice. Food was less than stellar. We ordered two orders of the lamb ribs, one was delicious but a little fatty, the other burnt. We also had the Korean chicken tacos off the special menu which were just ok. Loved the brussel sprouts, beets and plantains off the vegetable list but each serving was about two tablespoons so they really could have been a tad more generous. May give it another shot since we love luncheria.

October 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren D

Don't listen to jj. I have been goong to bodega since it first opened. Always pleasant waitstaff and bartenders. Food is always exceptional and fairly priced. Love this new restaurant in Fairfield. Oh and by the way I asked about the raw egg white in the drinks. And it's only in one drink called the bodega girl. And it's awesome.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Gave it another try and ate in this time. Two thumbs up!

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren D

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