Bohemios Serves up Fine Wine and Exotic Comfort Food

Good Bite

BY ANDREW FABIAN SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY JUN 9, 2020

Clark Road remains by-and-large an industrial corridor. Warehouses, car dealerships and gas stations border its six lanes of asphalt, with here and there a respectable strip mall sprinkled in. One such strip mall has found itself for the moment a niche as an outpost for a variety of cuisines, including El Toro Bravo for Mexican fare, Vila Brasil Café for Brazilian cuisine and, now, Bohemios Wine and Beer Tapas Bar for a Spanish-influenced, Venezuelan-tinged assortment of small bites and entrees tailormade for partaking in that slow-paced, broad-plated style of eating popular in Spain.

Entrees include easily identifiable dishes like rack of lamb, mushroom ravioli or ahi-tuna, each with the expected sides for the cuisine from which they borrow. But buried within the vast menu of seafood bites like lobster sliders, fried calamari and grilled octopus are some little morsels of Venezuelan comfort food not often seen on menus in town. Pataconcitos, tequeños, Venezuelan-style empanadas and arepas would be easy to overlook on a menu with more recognizable names, but if one is to accept a Clark Road strip mall as a food destination, an open mind and a sense of adventure are implied. A selection from the restaurant’s mixed plates is a respectable beginning for the adventure, and the Iberoamerican might be the best among them.

A large wooden serving board comes loaded with two each of the aforementioned small bites, with a small ramakin of ceviche thrown in for good measure. Tequeños, little croquette-like pastries stuffed with cheese, have all the down-home charm of mozzarella sticks without the grease-stained paper basket. The corn meal empanadas, lightly fried, are stuffed with seasoned beef and served with a small side of cilantro aioli. Pataconcitos look almost like one-bite fruit tarts, but the fried plantain shell is stuffed with seasoned ground beef and pico de gallo, then drizzled with a pink sauce. With avocado, cabbage and shredded chicken coated in a cilantro sauce, the arepitas are like little sandwiches in which the bread has been replaced with cornmeal patties. Finally, the ceviche, a mix of shrimp, corvina and scallop chunks, has all the tang and zest of its citrus and onion base and offers a bit of textural and temperature contrast with the other tapas. The wine selection is vast both in country of origin and price range, with house wines by the glass starting at $5 for their “friendly hour” (3-6pm) and climbing all the way up to a Brunello di Montalcino or a Caymus cabernet for fans of the finer things.

Bohemios Wine & Beer Tapas Bar, 3246 Clark Road, Sarasota, 941-260-9784

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