Monday, October 15, 2007

La Bodega

869 Jefferson Avenue
Tremont, Ohio

Bite: Big promise, small delivery.

by Beau Cadiyo

Terminally cool, the proprietor said that my friends weren’t there, but I should sit down. The first thing I noticed was that the stools all had three legs. It’s funny what you remember: in ancient Greece, three-legged chairs were apparently common because three legs don’t wobble. Four legs are supposed to be the symbol of some sort of quality craftsmanship. Second, my Boylan’s Orange Soda was delicious (and reminded me of YouTube’s Fake David Blaine #2).

That was sadly the high point of the trip. When Jen and Tom arrived and we sat down at a proper table, we found the menu long and confusing. The groupings do not correspond with the numbers; thus, if you tell someone “I’m getting 53,” there is a good chance that “53” is near neither “52” or “54.” I initially liked mine (#33), enjoying the softness of the smoked salmon and the spice of the wasabi cucumbers, until Jen asked me how fresh the bagel tasted. I then realized that it didn’t taste fresh at all, but store-bought, frozen, thawed, not even toasted to give it some crispness or semblance of recent boiling/baking. Tom noted that sometimes restaurants propose a spin that doesn’t really work with food. For example, one might try to freshen up PB&J with tomatoes. He got a tuna salad sandwich which had sesame seeds; after deliberating he decided that the seeds worked. For me, if you have to deliberate, it doesn’t work. Jen got something with eggplant which she found lacking; after a while she realized that the cheese was soft. She wanted a harder, firmer, chewier cheese, a cheese of substance. She didn’t even touch the flaccid, probably store-bought pickle.

Done and mostly disappointed, we talked art. The pieces on the wall were interesting, but somewhat forgettable; the wall itself was intriguing, with what appeared to be old boards inserted between the bricks. I proposed that true art only occurs in the face of its opposition; Jen argued that seeds can’t grow in the desert; Tom pointed out that every seed is different. It’s all a matter of figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and that requires extensive experimentation. There’s promise in La Bodega, but they’re going to have to keep trying.

La Bodega in Cleveland


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