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2014-09-13 5598 views
I called around 3pm on a Saturday for same-day reservations, and the earliest they had available was 9pm. That doesn't strike me as unreasonable in any way, but I just wanted to let you know what the deal is: probably make reservations a day in advance, at least for coveted weekend spots.Anyway, the (American) woman taking my reservation pronounced the name of the restaurant "bo-care-ya," which momentarily made me think I had called the wrong place. You'd think... you'd think the people who work
Anyway, the (American) woman taking my reservation pronounced the name of the restaurant "bo-care-ya," which momentarily made me think I had called the wrong place. You'd think... you'd think the people who worked there would know what it's called. But who knows? Maybe it IS called bo-care-ya. After all, in Austin, Guadalupe St. is called "gwaddaloop." We began with the sangria. Not the super-sangria. Maybe we should have gotten the super, as this was anything but. Poor, D+ I love padron peppers. Online, Bocareya's menu says they use shishito peppers, but their in-store menu does not. Perhaps there's been a change? I like both, and I'm not sure I can reliably tell the difference. These were great-- lots of flesh on the peppers, an appropriate amount of salt and char, not wilty at all. At $68, I thought they were a little stingy with the peppers. But given that they're a rarity on HK menus, and places like 22 Ships absolutely do not know how to cook them, I was quite satisfied. A- The bikini sandwich takes its name from a concert hall in Barcelona. This one had black truffles, jamon, and tetilla cheese, a Galician cheese that's presumably not the sort of thing that you'd find in Barcelona. But I'm not knockin' it, because I thought the cheese was powerful and appropriately so, given its role of standing up to the ham and truffle. I thought the sandwiches were a little limp and the bread a little cardboard-y. Good, definitely not great: B- The pan con tomate was on the same bread (it seemed). The spread was quite garlicky, which is fine by me, but let me take a moment and give you a recommendation: the "pan con tomate" at Tapeo, which bears next to no relation to the stuff you'll get at Bocareya or Barcelona, is in my opinion fantastic. This stuff is meh. OK, C+ The grilled octopus comes with potatoes and the slightest drizzle of "spicy" sauce. I'm going to be a hypocrite for once (alright, once among many many times) and say that although I'm always going on and on about how restaurants over-slather things in sauces, I really really wanted lots more sauce on this. The potatoes were bland and hardly had a reason to be. The octopus was nicely smoky, meaty, and a little chewy but not in the bad way octopus can be chewy. Only recommended if you're an octopus fanatic. B- I don't dwell on presentation, but sometimes I shake my head quitely. The bombas contained (sigh) wagyu beef, HK's favorite meaningless-monikered beef, and were topped with a tiny amount of bravas sauce and some mayo-- ahem, excuse me, aioli. The croquettes were nicely fried, but they too were bland and again needed more sauce. If you've got some fish or some asparagus or whatever, by all means, go easy on the sauce. But potatoes are meant to be sauced. For a potato, to be is to be sauced. If you want a good potato bomb, I'd recommend Pokka cafe. This I'd say was only OK: C. Dessert was "Spanish toast," which is more or less pound cake. 'Nuff said.
The ambiance was strange. Our server was running around the restaurant yelling "woot woot" (that's an inexact transcription) every few seconds. The music was from between 10 years ago (Modest Mouse) and twenty ("Smells Like Teen Spirit"), which is fine by me but makes me wonder: has that stuff come back or is there just some suburban American white guy my age who's in charge of the music here? I will give them props for not cramming us in with other diners-- there was plenty of room where we were sitting and plenty of table space for all the tapas-- though none of the servers seemed to have any clue how to slightly move a plate to fit a different plate onto the table, even when there was tons of space. I mean, really.
Really. Final verdict: not recommended. I prefer food-wise, in no particular order, Tapeo, 22 Ships, Fofo, Iberico & Co, and Numero 15 for tapas. I have not had worse tapas in Hong Kong than here. I've had worse experiences at tapas places (ahem, 22 ships), but not worse tapas. This place is not bad by any means, but not good and does not stand up to the competition at all.