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Bolivar

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  • Seth Ditchik Jun 21, 1999 10:42 AM
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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.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      8 Replies
      1. re: GG

        Calle Ocho is great. Been there 3 or 4 times and
        never had a bad meal, the most recent being Sat.
        night. We always take people there from out of town.

        1. re: debbie

          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.

          1. re: Dave Feldman

            It seems we were both there on Sat night! I hd 2
            appetizers instead of a main course; the lobster
            cevivhe which was great and the shrimp which was also
            great and of course, a mojito. The others had fish
            wrapped in potatoes which they all liked.

            1. re: debbie

              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
              vegs.

              1. re: Martha Gehan

                I thought about ordering the soft shell crab but after
                having them the previous night at Union Square Cafe
                and being disappointed, I decided to skip it and try
                it another time.

              2. re: debbie

                Debbie,

                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?

                1. 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.

                  1. re: debbie

                    hey folks, if I hadn't been following this thread, I
                    would think you are talking about Bolivar, not Calle
                    Ocho. Your info will not show up on a Calle Ocho
                    search, it will be attributed to Bolivar, so name the
                    place you are talking about when you post on an old
                    thread, please.

        2. 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.