Serious Eats: New York
Bar Eats: Cocktail Bodega
The fresh-pressed juice and smoothie cocktails at the recently opened Cocktail Bodega are meals in and of themselves, but its eclectic menu of international street eats is also worth a look. Designed by Roblé Ali of Bravo fame, the short menu is a whimsical melting pot of flavors from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Asia, all served up cafeteria-style in checkered paper and red baskets.
Fun dishes include the Cuban Sandwich Quesadilla ($9), the always reliable pairing of ham, pork, cheese, mustard, and pickles pressed together in a flour tortilla instead of the usual Cuban bread. The result is much less greasy than the typical Cubano sandwich, and just as tasty.
Bodega Wings ($7), typically an afterthought on most bar menus, are excellent here. Plump and juicy with plenty of meat, the wings have a spicy flavor with a hot, crunchy coating. The dish comes with a side of blue cheese sauce, but the wings are better on their own.
Curried Coconut Shrimp ($11) also had a lovely sweet and spicy flavor, but with only four shrimp to an order, the dish felt much skimpier than the other menu options. Caribbean flavors are quite popular here—the kitchen also offers Jamaican Beef Patties ($9) and Jerked Chicken Satays ($7), which look far more filling.
Spare Ribs ($2 each) came recommended by the bartenders, but the version that we tried was tough and chewy. It was the only dish not completely devoured.
Instead, finish out the meal with a side Waffle Fries ($5, pictured below), which are exactly as pictured: warm, crisp, and perfectly filling.
About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderist, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.