Bocadillos Last Saturday Evening
The husband, TAMP (aka The Absent Minded Professor) and I ventured to SF for an overnight (am now just discovering the CH picnic that took place...story of my life) and had a lovely first meal at Bocadillos. We arrived without reservations at 8 pm and took the last two spots at the bar on the right at the back of the room.
The service couldn't have been bad, given that we sat nose-to-nose with the bartender/server. Perhaps a seat at the bar is de rigeur there, given the comments CH's have left about the service there. However, this does place your fanny on a slightly uncomfortable and backless barstool and your coat on a hook under the bar, competing for space with your legs.
At any rate, as you know, the room is small and cozy. One nice corollary is that you can actually have conversation, which in our case mostly consisted of "wow!" and "should we order another one of those?"
TAMP ordered a local'ish beer on tap (don't recall the provenance, but it was served in a tall thin glass with the brewery's name etched in it) that was delicious. Just a hint of lemon under the body. I, foolishly, did not follow suit, and ordered a hefeweizen on tap that had a sock-oid after taste to it. So I followed it with a rose Cava that was light and fruity, but also dry enough for my taste.
We each started with the sardine/marinated artichoke/olive pixchotes or whatever the Basque word for toothpick is. Delicious! The fish was fresh and went well with the veggies.
Next up...the octopus salad and the sauteed green peppers (can't recall their name) arrived together. Both were fabulous. The octopus salad was rustic and perfect. Large, tender, and ample pieces of octopus with potatoes and other good things. Not overdressed and much appreciated. I really loved the sauteed small green peppers, which were perfectly cooked. Most of them tasted like a sweet garden in your mouth. About every fifth one had some kick to it. Not too high on the Scoville scale. Heavenly in my view.
Rounding third came the Seranno ham sandwich, which almost caused a fist fight between me and TAMP over who had the larger half. I mean, how can you tell after someone has already taken a bite? The ham was perfectly flavored and not too salty. I do think the roll could have been better, but maybe that's what Basque people like. I recall thinking that the bread was bland at Piperade as well. I like something with a crusty crust, no? It was served with some fresh greens.
TAMP ordered the foie gras. Quel horreur! Why is this on the menu? IT DOES NOT WORK! I wish we had read this board before we went. Quel dommage.
I ordered another toothpick offering, the shrimp with a devilled egg. Sorry. Did not care for the pepper in the egg yolk. Also, the egg itself seemed to have been prepared too many hours ahead of serving. The shrimp, however, was sweet, fresh and very good.
Dessert for us was a shared three fruit sorbet. One scoop pear-light and crisp, one scoop blood orange-tangy and a bit heavier, and something else, but I cannot remember what for the life of me.
I don't remember the tab total, but do know I thought it was worth it. We're looking forward to our next trip.
I hadn't been there in probably about a year until a week ago Saturday (first I thought you were the folks that got the last 2 seats at the bar before we walked in). I was just up for a light dinner, so it was the perfect place. While I live close to Cesar, I don't even put the two places in the same league. I find Bocadillos to be a much more enjoyable place - better food, not feeling like I can't hear myself think, and better food. I think it is a better value, too, in addition to the food being better. I seem to recall we had the pork loin and chorizo plate, a bocadillo, and a ceviche. Yum