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Friday, May 24, 2024

New Bodega Taqueria y Tequila has speakeasy surprises

New Bodega Taqueria y Tequila has speakeasy surprises

From tacos and beer downstairs to lush couches and $1500 bottle service upstairs, the newly opened Bodega Taqueria y Tequila on Clematis facing the park has some surprises under its sombrero.

The newest in a chain with outposts in South Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and Aventura, this imaginative joint is being called one of the hottest Mexican restaurants in America.

Founded by Menin Hospitality’s Keith Menin and Jared Galbut, and led by Culinary Director Bernie Matz, Bodega’s unexpected twists of street food, environment, and experience are shaking up what Mexican restaurants can be.

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila’s flagship location offered a distinct style of fast-casual dining in Miami Beach with both traditional Mexican favorites and unconventional dishes. As they have expanded, those dishes and décor have landed by the park in West Palm Beach’s lively downtown.

During the day you can get Elote (corn on the cob) on a stick with Red Chili Crema, Cotija Cheese, Chipotle, Cilantro, Chipotle, or Quesadillas with various fillings, Tierra Y Mar (surf and turf) with ribeye and shrimp. Along with tacos, chicken, burritos, and other favorites.

But wait, a closer menu look reveals seafood fun with tequila shrimp, with avocado, pickled red onion, cilantro, and Red Chili Crema; along with Coconut Shrimp, Mango Pico, Potato Sticks, Cilantro, Salsa Rosada. Yum!

During a recent visit on opening night, we tried the Fiesta Tower for 4 that comes in a 3-tiered stack with elote, yucca frita, quesadilla, nachos, guacamole, and more.

Presentation is everything, amigo.

Fiesta Tower

Disguised as a side door and up a flight of tiled, darkly lit stairs, the speakeasy lounge comes alive at night, serving up award-winning tequila, mezcal, and cocktails in an environment that aims to bring artists and musicians, locals and travelers together for late-night performances and decadent drinks.

Dramatically lit with a long bar, dark blue couches, and stand-up tabletops, the heavy velvet curtains, and retro tin-pressed ceiling tiles feel like a Mexican resort lounge. A DJ pumping reggaeton kept the groove going.

The evening was full of surprises, as a drink station served up a mezcal concoction with orange, cacao, lime, and cayenne shaken up then placed in a glass-walled smoker to finish it off and give it a mysterious earthy fire taste. An orange peel branded with the word Bodega was clipped to the side with a mini clothespin. So delicioso we had two.

Making our way to our private seating area, we passed a station offering personalized engraved silver flasks, a truly unique gift and great for stashing a nip of tequila.

An imaginative cocktail menu with an emphasis on fruit juices and spicy additions includes Tropical margaritas, Pico Picantes, La Diablita, and other south of the border delights.

Bottle service at tables is available and, holy guacamole, prices aren’t cheap; starting at $150 for a bottle of tequila and 6 cervezas; up to 4 bottles of Vodka, Tequila, or Rum and 3 bottles of champagne bubbles for $3,500.

Along with those gasp-inducing prices are some special late-night eats of Guajillo Braised Short Rib, Roasted Pork, Roasted Chicken, Mexican Rice, Black Bean Refrito, Jack Cheese, Potato Sticks, and Salsa Rosada or the PHILI – Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Mexican Rice, Jack Cheese, Roasted Peppers, Black Bean Refrito, Potato Sticks, Red Chili Crema.

Events liven things up with Bingo on Tuesday, Live music on Wednesdays, and Clematis by Night on Thursdays in the park. It’s a lively locale with sidewalk dining and indoor booths and tables to take in all the action, a welcome addition to the dining scene downtown.

Bodega, Tequila Taqueria is on 118 S Clematis St. Online at bodegataqueria.com

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila Mexican Restaurant and Lounge in West Palm Beach

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