This is my blog post that was published on yeahthatskosher.com! Enjoy!
If any of you have visited Gush Etzion lately, you will notice that the culinary scene has had a change, after many years of only having coffee shops and dairy eateries. People demanded meat restaurants and Menachem Katz delivered. An Efrat native, who wanted to be a lawyer but ended up in the food industry for many years, and eventually fulfilled his lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant. He got his culinary education under renowned Israeli chef Yossi ben Dayan at the Hadassah college. His passions are food and music and that’s what brought him to open the Bodega.
Menachem decided to call the place the Bodega because at a bodega you can get your daily fix. Originally wanted to call it Avocado but “Bodega” was catchier because the abstract to the east coast. Located in the Efrat shopping mall where a supermarket used to be (ironicly), the Bodega offers a unique fusion of Mexican and Japanese cuisine. You can order sushi and a burrito in the same place. The main crowd that we met at the Bodega was a young and hip crowd, whether singles or young couples, everyone came to enjoy not only a good meal but also a live show. When I was there, there was a live jazz band scatting away while playing great music. It was a bit loud for the size of the place but still nice to get live entertainment in an area where it never existed.
We started with a Saki sour that was delicious, after that we moved on a beer taster. They hold many beers that are made in locally in Israel on tap: Dancing camel, Shapira and more. All the beers were really good, from the IPA to the lagers. The rest of the alcohol menu is also great, from different bottled beers to cocktails.
The food menu at the restaurant is different than your regular menu because of the cuisine fusion. We ordered chili fries, sushi and hot wings. The hot wings where deep fried to perfection and coated with a sauce that was spicy, but in the right manner. When you feel the heat at the back of your throat and doesn’t burn your tongue so you can’t enjoy the rest of your meal. The sushi was very good. I liked the way he put a jalapeño chili on top of one of the rolls to really get the fusion vibe. The chili fries were different than just any fries. They are seasoned battered French fries, which by concept is a great idea. The chili topping was nice but a bit under seasoned and the fries turned into one big chunk of fries.
For the mains we ordered many different items: Steak salad that was cooked to a perfect medium rare; Chicken salad that was seasoned nicely. The tortilla chips were a very nice addition to make the salad crunchy. The burritos are made from premium cuts of beef and wrapped nicely with rice and beans. I personally ordered a burger done medium and a beef hot dog. The hamburger I ordered wasn’t the greatest, it was well done which dried out the hamburger. On the other hand the hot dog was on point. Covered with pico de gallo and sauerkraut it was the highlight of my night. The service was a bit slow but they were swamped that night.
The Bodega is a one of a kind concept that fits the Gush Etzion crowd. Live music, good food, what else do you need to enjoy a great night out?!