After we stocked up on our artisanal chocolates, clutching those elegant carrier bags from Christopher Elbow like 6 Gollums with the Precious, we made our way to La Bodega, Mel’s go-to for tapas. We arrived deliberately on the early side for dinner, partly because one of us had to leave a little early and partly to take advantage of the happy hour special of half-off on the happy hour menu of a select number of tapas.
La Bodega was an interesting restaurant with artistic décor, its walls fully painted, depicting various scenes. It wasn’t too crowded when we arrived and we were able to order a wide variety and number of tapas which were delivered fairly quickly. If you’ve never had tapas before, think of them as the Spanish equivalent of dim sum: small plates with appetizer-sized food in a variety of flavors. The key is variety. The advantage of tapas is you can order a wide assortment, try all sorts of different things and not limit yourself to one particular, “normal”-sized entrée.
Tapas are meant for small bites, sharing and trying new dishes without weighing you down by eating too much of any one thing. In theory, anyway, because if you liked a particular dish, you could certainly put in another order for it.
|Albondigas Caseras (meatballs in a spicy garlic cream sauce)|
|Las Pelotas Estofadas (meatballs in red wine-bravas sauce)|
There were 6 of us and that was a good number to try a number of different tapas dishes, just enough that everyone could have at least 1 bite of everything, possibly more if you liked something more than someone else. The nice thing about going to a tapas place with a group is the more you could order and the wider the variety since we all had different preferences. I favored the meatball tapas plates (carnivore) while other friends liked the mushrooms and the cheeses.
|Croqueta de Pollo (Chicken Croquettes - delicious)|
The downside of enjoying tapas is, similar to dim sum, you tend to consume more because there are so many different things to try. “Just a bite” of 12 different tapas plates tends to add up and you (*I*) end up full before I know it. And there are likely more plates I just have to try. Still, it’s a small price to pay for an occasional indulgence. It’s not every day I’m in Kansas City at a delicious tapas place with awesome friends.
|Champinones a la Plancha (Roasted Mushrooms)|
I can’t remember all of the specific dishes we tried but there weren’t any I didn’t like. Service was great, our tapas dishes were delivered promptly, even when we did a second round of orders and the wait staff was very nice. Prices were reasonable, even more so at 50% off.
|Montaditos del Carne de Cerdo (pulled pork)|
|Solomillo con Cobrales (grilled beef tenderloin with Spanish bleu cheese)|
Some of the dessert choices were expected in that, in keeping with the Spanish theme, there were churros and flan. A little more mainstream were the cheesecake and chocolate cake. A slight disappointment on my part that tres leches cake wasn’t on the menu. And surprising was the offering of a s’mores cake. It was a warm chocolate cake with fudge sauce, buried under a toasted marshmallow covering. I’m not a big fan of marshmallows but my friend Jen was and I could get down with the warm chocolate cake part so it was an easy choice to make.
The s’mores dessert was pretty good, although I admit to being full enough that I could only manage a few bites. It was definitely a decadent capper to a delicious meal. So far, Mel hadn’t steered us wrong yet on great places to eat in Kansas City.