Nestled in a neighborhood of pho shops on Larkin Street, one would never guess that such a extraordinary restaurant existed. It was by the referral of a friend that stumbled into this fusion French/Vietnamese cuisine restaurant. Immediately after walking in to the place, I was completely mesmorized by the plum colored decor and all the fancy wall adornments.
But it wasn't only just the environment that captivated my attention. The food played a major roll as well. Some key dishes that I would highly recommend are:
(1) The green papaya salad ($4.75).
The super- thin strands of papaya tangled with herbs, peanuts, dried beef and a fish sauce-based dressing that the server mixes at the table.
(2) The roasted squab ($10.95)
The bird marinates overnight before a light lacquer of soy and sugar. After the coating dries, it's fried to a perfect bronze and crispness, giving way to succulently moist dark meat. An added bonus is dipping pieces of the squab in the small bowl of salt, pepper and lime at the table which brings out even more flavor.
(3) The stuffed crab (Market price).
Carefully removing all the meat from the crab shell, the chef mixes the meat with cheese and other flavorful ingredients. Then the entire crab is put in the oven and baked to perfection.
Bodega Bistro also serves your usual Vietnamese pho noodles, but I don't think that's what most people go there to eat (unless you're one of those looking for a quick meal). And the best part about the whole experience is that the master chef Jimmie Kwok always finds the time to come out from the kitchen to greet his customers and ask for feedback and suggestions.
This definitely one of the top places on my list and I would highly recommend it.