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Sunday
Nov112012

Bodega Taco Bar Opens in Darien

The upscale, inspired Mexican street food and vibrant bar scene that Bodega has ushered into Fairfield, has migrated south, opening in Darien this past weekend. The trio behind the original Bodega—Michael Young, Luis Chavez and Mario Fontana—have continued to perfect a brash menu that embraces the Americas, skewing from South America to North, and settling centrally on Mexico. In a markedly larger setting, the new Darien outpost has successfully duplicated much of the same menu, from antojitos to mezcal, with a few noteworthy additions. Bodega will be open for dinner Monday through Saturday at 5 pm and will expand its hours to include lunch beginning January 7 and Sunday brunch on January 13.

Guacamole and antojitos or “little cravings” kick-off the menu steeped in Mexican street food, that continues to borrow heavily from abroad, a trend that continues to platos, ensaladas, tortas and of course, tacos. New to Darien, a Lobster Mac Fundido, a manchego cheese sauce and bodega dry chili migas that arrives table-side audibly sizzling hot. Another new (not so) small plate are the richly layered Bodega Sweet Chili Duck Nachos, held together with cotija cheese, cranberry-jalapeno salsa, with Bodega’s signature large shards of crisp tortilla chips.  

Continuing onto tacos, Bodega continues to embrace the geographical spectrum. From Baja, a panko crusted mahi mahi, to Korea, a crispy korean chicken, and back to Mexico with a carne asada, all of Bodega’s tacos are tucked between two corn flour tortilla shells. New and noteworthy of the bunch are two vegetarian tacos. The Skinny Dorado, a sriracha verde, lime slaw, guava and almonds as well as a Calexico—slices of fried avocado with refried beans and queso fresco.

Taking its bar scene seriously, Bodega devotes equal billing to its tequilas and cocktails, with deep offerings of various Blanco, Reposado and Anejos, as well as a few mezcals, topping out just over 50 different selections. The agave worship extends to a selection of cocktails or “Bebidas.” The newest cocktail addition is the “figure 8,” a combination of Patron anejo, rosemary, fig preserves, ginger and orange juice served in a stemless champagne flute. Familiar favorites from Fairfield remain such as the rosarita, the Natalie Portman and the alibi. 

Located on the Post Road in Darien, Bodega is a welcome addition to the otherwise culturally staid culinary offerings of Darien. 

Bodega Darien is located at 980 Post Road in Darien.

Bodega Taco Bar on Urbanspoon

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Reader Comments (11)

Bodega Fairfield is a place I tried once the week it opened and really enjoyed but have not yet returned to for the following reason...The room is WAY too small, it feels like almost a social obligation to hit on the 20-somethings that filled the place that day. You know these places where the room is so damn small it's almost like your on a date with the couple at the next table? The place that Rustica took over used to be that small, that tightly packed with tables. Like Celeste I the city, where women have to sit in your lap to get to their tiny table, for those who desire that kind of thing. I am one of those who likes a lot of table-distance, and prefers that my intimate space not be violated by a throng of completely sexy coeds looking to party their asses off:) Who needs that kind of abuse?...(strong hint of delicious irony here).

I was really surprised when the space next door became available that the Bodega Boys didn't knock down a wall.

Hopefully in Darien I will find the preferred atmosphere, and a little more emphasis on table seating, not the end-of-the-world style tequila-shotting that is the mark of the rank amateur.

November 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

Hey Realguy- It is as if Bodega felt your pain. The Darien spot has plenty of table privacy with the same great food. The booths lining the open kitchen also make for great dinner entertainment.

November 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterStephanie Webster

I wish Fairfield's Bodega was bigger!

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCathy J

Agree with "realguy" that some of these teeny places can really be unbearable. That being said, to me, the noise level is a big issue as well. If I have to scream my order and shout to be heard by my dinner companions, I think it's too loud. Not sure why restaurants aren't more sensitive to this. Maybe they prefer the clientele mentioned above, ie, the bar crowd versus adults who really want to eat and relax with a few cocktails, while not breaking the bank. I am a big fan of Michael Young & Co ventures, having endured the original Valencia location. I will simply visit Bodega for weekend lunch or early dinner and enjoy my magical brussel sprouts and margaritas in peace.

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Iseman

This sounds fantastic, cannot wait to try it out! Every since moving out of NYC I have been craving great tacos!

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica S.

Tried bodega in Fairfield when it first opened up, not impressed. Food was okay but I felt if I wanted to get full or even feel satisfied I would have to spend $30 and that's ridiculous for tacos.

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

So tell me folks....How is the food in this place?

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

Sometimes it's up to us to answer our own questions...It was with this spirit of inquisitiveness that I arrived at the new Bodega location, at ten minutes to 6 pm.

It's fair to say that if you were not at Bodega last night you truly were nowhere. The scene was crawling with Darien folk and others looking for fun and tasty eats and in those two ways one was not disappointed. This was the spiritual opposite of RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE. This was the look, the sound and the smell of success, both now and to come.

Before anything else can be said it must be noted that Chef Michael is a consummate pro, his place, his staff, the kitchen and the menu are all "on point" as the spikey-haired guy might say. What about the experience was not on point?

Well, the Sangria, for one. This particular version of Sangria tasted, and I kid you not, a lot like the cocktails me and my sailing bretheren used to make at Viking on Cape Cod as young teenagers in the '70s. Bug juice and everclear, baby. Or, putting it more charitably, some cheap wine, some Kool aid, some vodka, maybe a splash of brandy. All I know is I have a little overhanger right now

Both of my compadres agreed, the sangria left something to be desired.

One other smallish point. The Tacos American, (ground beef, some cheese and something remarkably reminiscent to Big Mac sauce), elementally really tasty, come inside of really crispy fried flour tortillas, which are, in my estimation, both too crunchy as well as kind of overwhelming of the other ingredients somehow. Perhaps I will explore mix and match options involving soft corn.

Stick to the Tequila, a shot of Patron gold and a two buck tip were something like 16 bucks, so go and enjoy, but bring your wallet and dress nicely.

Chef Michal is in so many ways a man on the move; a chef on the rise. He is an expert at making the details work right and if he continues he will be a huge success.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

Hate to buck the trend. I have been their several times because I work nearby. ownership has everybody fooled. Tacos are good, small, and at $4 a pop, i feel that you need to order 4 to feel satisfied. A can of beer goes for $6.00 so by the time you're done you are into 24 bucks before any type of appetizer or your second beverage.. i have been told that a pitcher of margaritas is 50...

My buddy had a pulled pork sandwich and it was a mess...He didn't finish it...

Isn't Mexican food supposed to be street food? Are we celebrating the cuisine by making this so expensive.

ownership seems to have designs on a empire but nobody i have talked to seems thrilled about the food.

February 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Had the urge to buck the St. Patrick’s Day madness for some chow, and tried this one out based on some recommendations. No regular tables available, but what should I have expected walking in off of the street on a Sunday? We sat at the bar, and the tender was very friendly. Started with the guacamole, which was quite good. The family ordered assorted tacos that they were happy with (I sampled, and can confirm this).

Feeling ‘brunchy’, I ordered the short rib hash with poached eggs. My wife and kid’s food came out first, with the waiter explaining they served ‘family style’, and bring the food out as it is prepped. No worries, as it was a lazy Sunday. But eventually my son was finished and my wife had stopped eating to wait for my meal to arrive. After maybe 15 minutes I gave the bartender a raised brow and saw him go to the kitchen and return saying my dish would be up in two minutes.

The beef hash and eggs arrived in a small cast iron serving dish, and tasted like, well, a small cast iron serving dish. The food was burnt, and I sent it back. Thankfully they did not charge us for it. Maybe they have the B Team in the kitchen on the weekends, but first impressions are important. A disappointment.

March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGK

A quick trip to Bodega Taco Bar in Darien was a great choice for lunch.

As I waited I ordered the original guacamole that is “Slapped to Order.” It arrived with a basket of house-made tortilla chips. The guacamole was delicious, but a little citrusy for my taste. It was chunky, with a good array of textures from the avocado, tomato, and jalapeños. The chips were more than enough for the portion size.

It’s lunch so Tacos were the choice. The question was…how many and which? I decided on four and chose one from each food group. I ordered (1) “Baja” - panko crusted mahi mahi, pico de gallo, lemon aioli, (2) “Cochinita Pibil” - slow cooked pork, refried beans, pickled red onion, cilantro, (3) “Crispy Korean Chicken” - red pepper paste, Asian slaw and (4) “Argentino” - hanger steak asada, charred onion,
salsa de chili de arbol, cilantro.

In order of my preference. The Baja was my favorite. The crispy fried fish was fantastic, and the toppings made this a perfectly delightful, bright flavored taco. Close behind was the Argentina, in which the flavors were the opposite of the Baja. They were rich and deep and earthy which the cilantro popping the flavors. I had no idea what to expect with the Korean Chicken but the menu should add the word spicy somewhere to give a head’s up. This taco delivered quite a kick to the unaware palate. Once I knew about the heat, bite #2 was more enjoyable, but there was a drop from the first two in my preference. Again, my least favorite was the pork. It may be me as I am probably the only person I know that is not a fan of the pork at Bodega or Valencia. I find it very bland. I should learn to travel down a different path in all of my future visits.

I really like the vibe, the décor, the servers, everything about Bodega. It will definitely make the power rotation.

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