- Seth Ditchik Jun 21, 1999 10:42 AM
How is Bolivar? I've heard pretty good stuff about
this place, and I'm looking for somewhere to have a
business-related dinner. The group is large (approx.
12 people) and varied in terms of culinary
adventurousness. Food, price, atmosphere? Any
feedback would be appreciated.
i haven't eaten there myself, but i've been there a
couple of times. number one, make reservations. the
place has been packed the times i've been there. also,
the atmosphere is loud and raucous. in the words of
kool and the gang, "there's a party going on right
here". it's a pretty trendy spot. as for the food, my
girlfriend says it's good, but nowhere close to arizona
206, which used to be at the same spot. we liked that
place a lot.
Go to Patria or Calle Ocho. They set the standard.
The food at Bolivar doen't even come close. The
ceviche was pretty nasty, and the arepa was a joke.
Mixed grill was ok, but you might as well eat that
somewhere cheaper. Our waiter couldn't care less when
we honestly replied to his "How's everything?" query -
instead of asking what was wrong, he just cleared the
table and gave us the bill.
I was at Calle Ocho this Saturday night, and had a
wonderful experience, as always. And I was pleased to
see that they've changed the menu extensively
recently. I enjoyed the side order of onion rings,
but I couldn't figure out a flavor in the batter. I
asked the charming and vivacious waitress what the was
in the batter. "Buttermilk," she replied, "but the
ingredient you are probably looking for is coffee."
I wonder if they offer decaf onion rings.
It's going to be hard to get me to try Bolivar when
there are so many good cheaper options, and such a
congenial and lively restaurant as Calle Ocho nearby.
My only complaint is that more than half the entrees
seem to come with some form of mashed starch. I'd
prefer more variety.
I, too, was at Calle Ocho on Sat. night- smaller
world than I thought, I guess.I would have ordered the
lobster ceviche but was seduced by a new menu item,
pumpkin-seed crusted sauteed softshell crabs in a hot
red pepper, mango and Maine crabmeat salsa. The crabs
were cooked perfectly and greaselessly- the crunchy
crust giving way to the sweet crab beneath,and the
crabmeat in the salsa gave a rich edge to its spicy
acidity. Tried the grilled carrot and chayote salad,
which was great-sweet charred carrot strips and
chayote in a subtle vinaigrette applied with a light
hand (who wants a drowned salad?). Will have to go back
soon to try the new version of chupe, which is now made
w/lobster instead of shrimp. If it even approaches the
deliciousness of the old version it'll be wonderful.
Had a mojito for the first time-refreshing but lethal.
One member of our party, new to Calle Ocho, spent the
meal swooning in ecstasy and almost single-handedly
polished off two pots of the black-bean spread. The
breads were even better than I had remembered. And I
agree with Dave-too many starchy sides- I'd like to see
what seasoning magic they could work on some green
I finally found someone to split the soft-taco
appetizer with me (the fish, chicken, and steak were
all good, with the steak particularly good) and had
the opportunity of cadging what is usually my
appetizer of choice -- the calamari and octupus salad,
which I like more than the ceviche.
I also love the breads there and always have to stifle
asking for more, because I know I"m going to get
filled up later.
Anyone try the desserts at Calle Ocho?
re: Dave Feldman
The breads are good, but how about that great dip they
serve with it?
I've had the sorbets which are good. One time the
service was so slow the waitress brought over
complimentary desserts for the table (even though we
hadn't complained -- and even though we were too
stuffed and hadn't planned on ordering dessert!) They
were a combination of much of the dessert menu but I
can't remember what they were.
I was disappointed in Bolivar. While I thought the food was pretty good (but priced way above what it was worth), I found the place was uncomfortable, very noisy and the service poor. There was nothing I could do to catch the attention of our waiter so that I could order a second caipirinha--which at Bolivar is served in an eight-dollar-thimble. I stopped just short of lobbing my empty glass at his head. When I expressed my dissatisfaction about this at the end of the meal, at least, the waiter was apologetic and didnt charge me for the drink--so I guess I'm glad I didnt throw the glass. I wouldnt be tempted to return, though. I miss Arizona 206 a lot. I really loved that place. I thought the owners were the same, but it was a very different experience.