Opened: October 2022
Never mind the mural depicting Scarface. Everything else about Bodega in Westgate Entertainment District – its pink walls, aqua chairs and eye-catching art – exudes an upbeat Latin vibe inspired by Miami and its Cuban culture. The tropically inclined cocktail menu offers variously flavored mojitos and clever presentations. Surely, it’s these little touches, including super-friendly servers and a steady backbeat of Bad Bunny, that keep customers happy, not the vaguely mediocre food and drink. Next time, I’ll skip the bland passion fruit mojito and head straight for the ancho-chile-sparked guyaba punch ($16). Pale, floury empanadas, filled with a greasy mixture of ground beef, potato and cheese, are decent enough after a swipe through chipotle aioli ($15), but the pickled red onions that accompany them are dried out and astringent. A roasted pork and Swiss Cubano sandwich, sharpened with mustard and dill pickle, is pretty good, just not destination-worthy ($16). Ditto for faintly dry, agreeably citrusy Cuban mojo pork tacos, which benefit from spicy lime-cilantro slaw and guacamole ($12.50). Beware of unlisted beer prices. $11 for a 12-ounce Dos Equis is absurd.
Wild Card: An out-in-left-field spicy shrimp sushi stack composed of sushi rice, cucumber, crab meat, avocado and Sriracha-drizzled shrimp ($19) is fun, if impossible to eat gracefully.
6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale, 623-877-7673, bodegaaz.com