Yesterday my sister and I with our respective boyfriends traipsed up the street to the new martini/tapas bar Bodega. Unlike most of the bars here on Coventry which specialize in the college-age "beer and bombs" crowd who prefer their drinks cheap and in pitchers, Bodega aims for the yuppie upper-20's low 30's clientele, people who are willing to shell out $9-$12 for some swanky cocktail and prefer snacking on ceviche instead of chicken wings.

The interior reflects this attitude, as it is clearly designed in the vein of a slick West 6th bar (low-slung couches, modern minimalist table furniture, strategically-placed curtains). I enjoyed the design elements and I thought the color scheme was good, but the space is very large and echoey, which made the loud party music they were pumping in reverb to the point of irritation at times. The chairs were surprisingly comfy to sit in. I like comfy chairs. The tables had a cheap plastic top with no tablecloth, which ordinarily I would have been okay with but the servers were really into baptizing the table along with my water glass and I have a hang-up about wet on tables. I spent a lot of time surreptitiously mopping up after the water boy came around.

Their cocktail list is HUGE and incredibly overwhelming. Fortunately things were arranged by tastes and primary components, so I was able to ignore the entire "desserts" and "berries" section because I know I'm not a fan of fruity or sugary sweet drinks. Their wine and beer list is anemic and mediocre; clearly you come here for the cocktails. This is fine with me because the best wine and beer place on the planet happens to thrive a few doors up, and I would be going there for my vino y cerveza anyways. I ended up going with a ginger vodka and green tea concoction; it sounded pretty good together. Instead of what I was hoping for (a nice light gingery vodka with a hint of green tea), I got something that tasted like a tiny amount of cheap-ass well vodka got drowned in a concentrated syrup of Arizona green tea. It was really sweet and extremely gross. Apparently instead of green tea, what Bodega uses is some type of green tea liqueur, which if you do get in anything, make sure to say you don't want a lot of it. It's really strong and will completely overpower any drink you have it in otherwise. I couldn't taste the ginger at all in my drink because of it. In the bartender's defense, she did remake the drink with less liqueur for me and it was passable after that. I won't be getting it again though. My sister ordered the Vesper, a Lillet-blanc martini popularized from the latest 007 movie, and was thrilled with it.

Bodega has no entree-sized dishes; they deal entirely in small plates known as tapas in a mediterranean-middle eastern fusion style. Everything looked very tasty and I had a hard time deciding which ones to go with. I ended up getting the Barcelona peppers (peppers and sausage with a tomato-basil sauce) and the Spanish cigars (mushrooms, spinach, and feta wrapped in filo). They were both delicious, but I especially liked the Barcelona peppers. I'm not sure what type of peppers were used but they had heat on them and the sausage was spicy as well. I always enjoy when restaurants aren't afraid to put some zing in their dishes. Two tapas made an acceptable-sized entree for me, but our boyfriends were clearly languishing from lack of serious food portions. This is a place for cocktails and noshies, not a true sit-down eating experience. The average price ranged from $6-9 on the tapas, with some in the $12 range (a small filet steak). My sister got the lambchops, which were a twee overdone but still very tasty. They came on a bed of saffron-mustard rice which my sister declared delicious but my boyfriend (who also had the lamb) didn't like at all. My sister's boyfriend got the couscous salad (which was basically couscous and chickpeas) and the mussels, which didn't look that special and he didn't seem that thrilled with. I'm not surprised...it's generally a bad idea to get mussels in Cleveland unless you're in a place that's known for its mussels.

Long story short, I'd go back but I wouldn't take my boyfriend back with me. This is a place to take your girlfriends and get politely twisped on fancy cocktails while enjoying some noshies. There was a scallop ceviche on the menu I didn't get around to and definitely want to try, and I'd hit the Barcelona peppers again for sure. Overall I was pleased; I think the drink list is a little gimmicky but it's a nice departure from the standard sports-bar experience you see all too often on Coventry now.

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