Food review: Bocado Un Petit Bistro
Bon appetit at Bocado Un Petit, a cozy cove of comfort food
Chancing upon Bocado Un Petit, the new bistro downtown, is like being let into a thrilling secret. Your eyes must skim past the other well-established buildings–the Italian gourmet restaurant and the insurance building and the whiskey bar–before, finally, you’ll find Bocado, tucked away like a hidden gem.
Inside, once you sit down at one of the mini tables or tall stands, you forget all about the biting cold and chilling winds, and settle snugly into Bocado’s cozy vibe. Framed verdant leaves adorn the walls, festive Christmas decorations deck the hall, and enticing whiffs of mocha and honey billow out from the kitchen.
This is where Chef Diego Castillo works his magic–yes, magic. He specializes in comfort food, food that stirs deep nostalgia in the pit of your stomach.
Whether you’re enjoying a dish for the first time or reliving a dear memory, each dish, though not technically perfect, is like the warm, familiar embrace of one’s childhood.
Take the Berry Delight crepe ($9.50), for instance. With the dollops of whipped cream, sweet berries, and fluffy-as-a-cloud crepe, the dessert whisks one back to the simple berry-flavored ice creams and yogurts we all clamored for as kids. The blueberries underneath the crepe folds are great fun to eat– they instantly pop in an explosion of vivid indigo.
Less fulfilling is the Classica savory crepe ($12.50), a combo of layered fried eggs and mozzarella cheese. If the Berry Delight was rich and creamy, the Classica is more underwhelming. Aside from the generous portions of honeydew and cantaloupe fruit, the rest of the crepe lies bare and plain on the plate, but for a scant sprinkle of cheese on top. Perhaps adding some toppings or condiments, like some medium-spicy Sriracha sauce, could further titillate the taste buds.
In some other cases, less is definitely more, as in the case of the Flor Vegan Ceviche ($14.50), which could go easier on the sour-cream and citrus juice. The dish itself certainly looks gorgeous though, the magenta flower a bright flash of color against the varying shades of green avocado and cilantro.
Then there’s the Hamlet Panini ($17), one of those rare, delectable sandwiches where you know every ingredient is there for a clear reason. Crimson tomato slices add touches of sweetness and moisture; soft mozzarella cheese–a tad stringy–holds the whole sandwich together; leafy arugula greens imbue the overall taste with a hint of minty freshness. And the bread? CRUNCH. What a glorious sound! It’s just as satisfying as chomping down breakfast cereal in our younger days.
A Charming Eatery
All in all, Bocado is truly worth a visit, and not just for the food.
As I was tucking into my order, a family of three rose to head out, the daughter rubbing her stomach with pleasure.
“Thank you so much, that was so good!” the mother gushed. Then, pausing mid step over the threshold, she turned back and murmured, a content smile on her face, “I haven’t had a crepe in so long…”
Then she and her family were gone, rushing back into the hustle and bustle of the frosty morning. But I bet she won’t forget that one crepe from Bocado, for to her it wasn’t just a crepe–it was a vicarious reliving of a dear memory. And she, like many, I’m sure, will continue coming back.
A charming addition to the neighborhood, Bocardo is a modest establishment that doesn’t scream for attention or bombard passersby with blasts of flamboyant color. Instead, it lies patiently on the road less taken, waiting to be discovered, the cheery, red door always propped wide open–an invitation for the curious and uninitiated. And for those who deign to take it, an unforgettably rich, culinary walk down the memory lane awaits.