Boca Bistro (Saratoga Springs) - Anyone been?
Any been to Boca Bistro?
Only a few posts on Yelp . . .
PS Lots of chorizio, etc. Great they have seafood paella. The blistered peppers also have my name on them.
Without a reservation on a Saturday evening I expected there would be a wait for a table. When I finally got to the front of the line at the hostess station I was informed that it would be about a 40-45 minute wait for a table for two. But I was welcome to take a high-top by the bar or sit at the bar if there were any seats available. We ended up at the bar. They have squeezed tables into every conceivable space.
My wife tried the Red Sangria ($8), they also offer White, while I started with an Estrella Damm draft ($5.50) from Spain. The sangria was nothing exciting with it's hint of cinnamon, however, the Estrella was crisp, clean, and full of flavors reminding me of what ales tasted like in the 50's - although the menu says the recipe actually goes back to 1876. They certainly knew how to brew a good beer back then.
We were interested in trying several items from the Tapas side of the menu. From the cheese (Quesos) section we selected the Mahon from the island of Menorca ($7) served with marcona almonds and quince paste - 3 thin slices of a hard, slightly sharp, not too intense yet tangy cows milk cheese. Very nice with the almonds, but my wife didn't care for the quince paste as much as I did.
Datiles Rellenos ($7) can become addictive - dates stuffed with valdeon (a Spanish blue cheese) and marcona almonds, wrapped in bacon with a cider mustard glaze. Delicious but could have used more valdeon!
Our least favorite tapas was the Huevos Fritos con Chorizo Y Patatas ($9) - Spanish sausage confit, fried potatoes, fried egg and aioli. The dish looked pleasant enough with the sunny-side fried egg sitting on the top of the diced potatoes and sausage. We mixed it all up together and thought the aioli was so rich it was overpowering. We also think the potatoes could have been fried a bit longer.
Besides the Dates, another of our favorites was the Pulpo con Patatas ($10) - grilled octopus, potato, saffron vinaigrette and arugula. We expected the octopus to be chewy if not rubbery. But it was so tender - more tender than most properly cooked squid that I've been served. The total dish was a wonderful blend of flavors.
While we ordered a second round of drinks, a Widmere Dark Saison ($6) for me and another Sangria for my wife, we realized that we had forgotten to order the Pimientos de Pardon ($9) - blistered shishito peppers with coarse sea salt. I was glad to have the saison with the peppers at this point. Most of the peppers were medium hot, but now and then you would find one that sent you to your cold beverage. All were very tasty, in any event, and fun to munch on, but I couldn't find a single "FDR" seared in any of them!
Overall, this was an excellent experience. It will be interesting to see how busy it is once winter sets in. The noise level was high. It wasn't until I visited the restroom before leaving that I realized that there was some really nice Spanish music being played. Also, a note of warning... the prices I mention above do not necessarily agree with the menus on Boca Bistro's web page. The prices we were charged were fifty cents to two dollars higher for some items. But I think the prices were reasonable for the quality of what was served. We'll be back.
Haven't eaten there for dinner yet, although it's on the radar. Have hit their happy hour a couple of times. For a while, it started at 3 pm lasting until six, but they have now moved starting time to 4:30. Half price usual drinks, and a $5 tapas menu, with some tasty options which I have had.. My drinking buddy and his wife have done dinner there,, and were very pleased. Interestingly, the earlier happy hour starting time let us see what food the staff were being served for the staff dinner, and it looked great. Decor in the place is quite lovely, and I would recommend a stop if you are in the area. .
Returned yesterday just as they opened for dinner. We were seated at a two-top in the most cramped section of the restaurant - between the wall of wine bottles and the glass wall separating us from the entrance corridor.
We focused on the unique draft beers available. The Phin & Matt's Extraordinary Ale ($6/pint) - a slightly malty and medium light pale ale; and a Naughty Nurse Pale Ale ($5.50/pint on menu; $6/pint on our bill) - slightly bittersweet finish with a fruity and flowery aroma.
We chose five items to share. Fuet ($7) - thinly sliced, dry, cured pork sausage served with a variety of marinated olives. Nice, but not outstanding. The Soup Special for the day ($7) - black beans with half of a hard-boiled egg and a variety of spices that I can't recall. Very, VERY nice. Croquetas Jamon ($8) - serrano and ham fritters. Five lightly fried fritters, not greasy, filled with a creamy potato mixture and a hint of serrano flavor. I could munch on these ALL night.
After these first three dishes were cleared from our table our remaining two items were delivered. A Salad Special ($12) with heirloom spinach, portabella mushrooms, chorizo, and spicy walnuts, with thinly sliced beef on the side. I don't recall what the dressing was but this was delicious. Our final plate was Fideo Chorizo Y Almejas ($12) - short, thin strands of pasta, spanish sausage, clams, bell pepper, and saffron cream aioli. This dish was a real treat. The initial taste was a bit fishy, but all the flavors melded nicely. The dish was apparently finished under the broiler so that some of the strands of pasta were crisped on their ends adding an additional texture to the already pleasing mouth-feel of the preparation.
I finished with a cup of Cappuccino ($3.50) that had an excellent, deep, and rich coffee flavor, and a Dessert Special ($6) that I can only recall it having some type of custard with little cubes of cake and something to do with olive oil. Very rich and enjoyable.
Service was professional and friendly. Maybe the next time we'll try a Paella for two.