A new Spanish tapas bar opened this month in Capitol Hill, bringing the Barracks Row development a place for tapas, paella, sangria, cured meats, and cheeses. Bodegon quietly opened earlier in July at 515 Eighth Street SE, which used to house a location of Medium Rare steakhouse. Brothers Joe and Moe Idrissi established the restaurant as a sibling of Bodega in Georgetown. They also run Thunder Burger and Bar on M Street NW.
Meals might start with a cup of gazpacho or a bright plate of baby beets decorated with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Cold tapas include a plate of chilled mussels and peppers in a tart vinaigrette and a serving of pan con tomate, pieces of bread and tomato that can be augmented with jamón Serrano and slices of manchego cheese. A section of hot tapas offers traditional small plates such as chicken croquettes, seared octopus with smoked paprika, meatballs stewed in red wine sauce, of slices of egg-based Spanish tortilla studded with potatoes and onions.
There are five types of paella, including an abundant seafood variety packed with monkfish, clams, mussels, squid, scallops, shrimp, and lobster. Other flavors include a seasonal vegetable option, spicy chicken and tiger prawns, or chicken and chorizo.
A tile-lined bar sends out red or white sangrias by the glass or pitcher. A gin and tonic goblet dressed with a corkscrew-shaped lime peel is new for the Barracks Row location. Bodegon gives classic cocktails an Iberian twist, serving a mezcal Negroni with Spanish vermouth and a sherry Manhattan with Amontillado, vanilla, and bitters. A one-page wine list plays up lots of Spanish grapes, with sections devoted to Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Albariño.
A theatrical renovation brings on cathedral-style light fixtures and a bullfighting motif complete with vintage promo posters and sparkly matador outfits that were supposedly worn in the bullring. The word “Bodegon” refers to a genre of Spanish still lifes depicting common pantry items.
Like Bodega, Bodegon will host flamenco nights, bottomless brunches, and wine tastings. Upscale Spanish competitor Joselito Casa de Comidas is just around the corner on Pennsylvania Avenue SE