LA BODEGA 47 Replaces NATIVE in Harlem!!!

As Harlem continues to grow as one of Manhattan’s most popular and happening neighborhoods, the uptown restaurant scene has added yet another restaurant to the mix.  But unlike the over saturated soul food competitors, LA BODEGA 47 Social Club taps into a wonderful blend of Hispanic and American culture with creative cocktails that make for pleasurable moments of delight that are as equally pleasing to the mouth as they are tempting to the eye!

Located at 161 Lenox Avenue on the corner of 118th Street, time will tell if La Bodega 47 will maintain the appeal of its predecessor, NATIVE (click here to read my March 2012 Native Restaurant review), the Lenox Avenue restaurant that opened in 2001 and catered to the neighborhood’s ultimate clientele of trendy hipsters, industry gays, and local personalities, eventually helping to usher in the avenue’s now-flourishing restaurant row.

La Bodega 47 is actually run and operated by the same owners of Native.  In fact, La Bodega 47 IS Native, re-vamped from Caribbean to Latin American food with a newly installed bar and oversized canned food lanterns that stay true to the originals signature comfortable decor perfect for gossip over cocktails, reunions over brunch, and sultry encounters over intimate seating.

Moderately priced dishes (nothing on the dinner menu over $25) make La Bodega 47 a refreshingly easy option in a neighborhood where Red Rooster, The Cecil and Minton’s poorly attempt to cater to a more elite crowd with overly complicated dishes and inflated prices.  Fine dining at La Bodega is fun and delicious where small plates such as the Macaroni and Cheese (which is actually a perfect size for a meal), calamari, wings, salads, nachos and fries all have a unique twist with delicious appeal, and are all under $15, making for perfect bar snacks or dinner appetizers or ideal meals for light dining.  The Brussels Sprouts are magnificently sweet and crunchy, and the Macaroni & Cheese is a heavenly gooey dish of flavor served in a piping hot pan!

Large plates at La Bodega include a dominican chimi burger, steak, rice & beans, seafood criolla, mussels, chicken, lamb and short ribs!  The Salmon Wellington was huge, but a delight!  The flaky pastry made for a nice texture to the well-cooked fish that was amped up beautifully with white wine butter sauce that dazzles the tongue.

Brussel Sprouts
La Bodega 47’s Brussels Sprouts ($10) features pecans and ginger tofu glazed over tender chunks of the fresh vegetable.
The Mac & Cheese
The Macaroni & Cheese ($12) at La Bodega is on the menu’s “Small Plates,” and it is a great starter to share, but is large enough for a solo dinner.  It’s cheesy, it’s gooey, it’s hot, and it’s delicious!
Salmon Wellington at La Bodega 47
The Salmon Wellington at La Bodega 47 $20  features a hefty piece of salmon delicately rolled in a light puff pastry with spinach, feta, and scallions over a dill beurre blanc sauce.
Penicillin Cocktail at La Bodega
Penicillin Cocktail at La Bodega
The Ol' Fashion
The Latin Ol’ Fashioned is $12 and feature El Dorado 12 year, Island Spice Molasses, Orange and Grapefruit bitters.

The drinks are great at La Bodega 47!  Unique without being overly sweet, the fresh fruits and ginger make for awesome munching and added flavors.

With Happy Hour specials where signature cocktails go for $9, Monday’s  $12 Burger & A Beer deal, Sunday’s Supper which includes 1 small plate, a large plate and a half carafe of sangria or rum punch for $27, La Bodega is a new ideal spot for Harlem where quality meets culture and reasonably priced socialization!

Quaint and full of neighborhood charm, La Bodega is an affordable class act where slow service is overlooked by bubbly personalities (my server Che was great) and the restaurant’s overall easy vibe.  La Bodega is not a place to go when in a rush, its meant for fun dining and entertaining drinks over easy conversations with someone to love.

BJC.

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