This was a night of highs and lows… I noticed Bodego during my visit to the farmer’s market and thought the outdoor area was so gorgeous that it was worth a try. So, we ventured out with high hopes. Firstly, the ambiance was great. Gorgeous outdoor fireplace with a Mediterranean feel, cozy little niches, heaters for warmth and plush seating inside. The hostess instructed us to just sit where we’d like, so we grabbed some drinks from the bar as we made our way. No, we could not wait until we sat down to have our drinks… And, no, that doesn’t make me an alcoholic… I swear. No, really! Anyway, enough of your judgement, the house lager is nice and so is the pear cocktail (great prices at happy hour). After sitting at our table for 20 minutes, watching other people get served, we finally went to the hostess to ask if we’d been forgotten. Sure enough, we had. There was definitely a serious lack of communication as the same thing occurred to 2 of the 3 tables sitting near us. No problem, they’d only been open for 9 days and we were not in a rush. The hostess ended up serving us and was really good. She was friendly and helpful – things were looking up. After making it clear that I was a vegetarian and my companion, a pescetarian, we ordered the tomato bisque, vegetable barley soup, vegetable parve and the fideo (seafood pasta). The presentation of everything was gorgeous and the bread was nice. The tomato bisque was excellent – I mean, really exceptional. It was served with a thin piece of toasted bread, which was the perfect accoutrement. However, the vegetable parve was a little flat. It certainly needed salt (of which there was none available on the tables – mighty presumptuous!), perhaps that would’ve been enough to make it good, but as it was served, it was lackluster. The fideo was also unremarkable. In addition to the fact this it was just okay, it seemed like there was beef or pork crumbles on top of it (not on the menu and the server swore that it was some type of seafood or panko)… It was definitely not panko, but it was so heavily seasoned that one could be convinced that it was scallops or something of that nature. However, it really had the look, taste and feel of some type of meat – not very appetizing for those who do not eat red meat (like my dining counterpart to whom this dish belonged). Lastly, we tried the “vegetable barley soup”, which was touted as being completely vegan. Whoa. It reminded me of something from my childhood: my mother’s potato & ham soup… This was probably because it was potato and ham soup. An item not on the menu or even mentioned during the specials. We thought we were imaging the distinct pork flavor and lack of barley, but, alas, my bite of bacon solidified my suspicions. Unfortunately, since it was so dark outside, we literally couldn’t see what we were eating. So, needless to say, after not having consumed any meat whatsoever for 4.5 years, I was left in a nauseated state for the rest of the evening. Was this psychosomatic? Maybe. But bacon is one of those foods that really stick with you, not to mention that the thought of munching on Wilbur doesn’t sit very well with me. The server was very apologetic about this mistake (it was not her fault – another server brought out the dish, but this is a testament to the communication problems they are clearly having) and took the soup off of the tab. We also had an americano (to eradicate the swine from our taste buds), which was okay – very mild, which I like, but perhaps a little too watered down.
There is promise and it seems like their heart is in the right place, but they’re going to have to work on making sure that the vegetarian and vegan dishes actually are such. Especially when they go on about accommodating dietary restrictions and providing wholesome, minimal ingredient dishes. We may be back, since the tomato bisque, drinks and ambiance were so nice, but we’re still on the fence.
Bodego Kitchen & Wine
St. Philips Plaza
4340 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ 85718