A few weeks back, I had a great opportunity to meet with my friend Lisa Velazquez to catch up and brainstorm some new ideas for collaboration. Lisa, for those of you not familiar with her, she is the “Love Style Coach” and has contributed to several conversations on Radio Capicu about having healthier relationships.
I had suggested a place that owns lots of real estate on my Twitter / Facebook timelines… a Brooklyn hot spot named Bogota Bistro, located in Park Slope. This Bistro is owned by fellow social media aficionados, Farid Ali Lancheros and George Constantinou who I met years ago while organizing the first LATISM conference at Columbia University in NYC. I had been meaning to come there for so long… I have finally arrived (literally and figuratively).
Now I started my day by mentioning on Twitter that I was coming by for dinner (because I was very excited) and almost instantly got a DM invite from @PhilVelez (another old friend) to use OpenTable to make a reservation ((major brownie points)). I have never used Open Table since I am such a spontaneous person but it was very easy and convenient. I think that is sooo cool that Phil is listening to brand mentions and is as engaged as he is… shows a level of detail that you just simply do not get from other restaurants.
I have been to many eateries in my life… and I have never been impressed with a restaurant like I was with this place so I am going to tell you the top three things that impressed me about Bogota Bistro and that very few restaurants get right all at the same time.
The Ambiance – The place is visually stimulating and the very title of this post is inspired on how I felt like I walked out of Brooklyn and into Bogota. The art on the wall is amazing and has a different effect on you depending on where you are sitting in the restaurant. The design is heavily influenced by Pan-Americanism, a unification movement led by El Libertador Simon Bolivar. The overall feel of the place is country side small town dining. The music was just enough to add to my sensory backdrop but low enough for Lisa and I to engage into meaningful conversation and not get distracted (That is a big plus). I also loved that the people dining along side us were as diverse as Brooklyn itself, attracting hardcore foodies from all cultures as well as Latinos looking to reconnect to their culinary roots with favorites like the infamous “Bandeja Paisa”
The People – The staff is warm, attentive and very detailed about everything they do. Everyone from the delivery guy to the bus boys and the wait staff look like they truly enjoy what they do. I think the major win here is how well they work together. Having extensive experience in the culinary field I was very impressed with how synchronized the staff was around the guests needs, reinforcing that “unification” theme. On a side note, I cannot see how anyone can do a standard tip in these restaurant considering the level of attention you get from the team here at Bogota Bistro.
Y El Plato? – Cojelo con take it easy… I saved the best for last… the food in this place is nothing short of breathtaking. Every menu item is carefully curated to excite you from the moment you open your menu. Reading the menu, you will see that there is some incredible new twists on old favorites that will make you say… wow and show the menu the people you are having dinner with. My only complaint is that there is so much to choose from, but I guess that is one of the things that will keep me coming back as I love to explore new tastes.
I had the Chicken Quesadillas as an appetizer (really loved the twist of having both fried plantains and re-fried beans in the mix). The guacamole was fresh and the sour cream had a very unique taste to it. As my main dish I had the Salmon Tropical (trying to make my indulgence a little healthier, since I knew I was going to eat a lot) and it was the best salmon I have had in a long time. Cooked to perfection it created the most sabroso, silky-smooth, melt in your mouth texture. Presentation was so great I forgot to take a picture and instagram it… it made me that hungry. Lisa commented while browsing the menu how impressed she was with the amount of Vegan / Gluten-Free options available.
As I mentioned before, this was a business meeting but was one of the best I had based on the elements we discussed above. I have given some nice reviews to some pretty good restaurants but I will be remiss if I did not say that this is my new favorite place to eat because they deliver the full experience of what dining out should be.
My compliments to the entire team at Bogota Bistro for making my evening unforgettable. I have been back since that night… sneaking in under the social media radar to try out the brunch (Plantain Stuffed French Toast… are you kidding me?). I will be back soon and I promise to share some pics via Instagram.
Thank you for your good old fashioned hospitality.
Bogota Latin Bistro is an award winning Colombian/Latin American restaurant located in New York City (in the northern part of Park Slope and just south of Downtown Brooklyn – 6 short blocks from the Barclays Center) serving the foods and beverages of Colombia and Latin America. We are dedicated to elevating the status and awareness of Latin food, particularly Colombian cuisine, and culture via our food, drinks, our music, our service and hospitality.
George Torres The Urban Jibaro
Cultivando Cultura since 1997… Connect with me on the network of your choice.