We visited DZ Restaurant Group's latest entry on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, the Boca Bistro, twice now. We visited once as a couple and once as part of a foursome. Both times, both on busy nights, we were pleasantly surprised to find good service, a convivial atmosphere, and delicious food. We had been informed by some Saratoga denizens in the know about a recent dining experience considered less than stellar. I have to say now after two trips, I am thoroughly enjoying this restaurant. While this is, indeed, an Americanized version of Spanish food, the menu is thoughtful and just ecclectic enough to attract a wide audience.
In a side note: In the winter, avoid sitting near the entranceway from outside. The first night we were there we were given a table along the glassed-in entry, and a steady cold breeze blew in around our feet and legs. The excellent service we received throughout our dinner took the edge off our chill, though.
On both evenings, we ordered the paella - the house specialty. The seafood paella was studded with plenty of mussels, shrimp and a surprise of tender calamari. The chicken and chorizo paella, which we had on our second visit, had some seafood as well as authentic chorizo. It was definitely a bit spicier than the seafood-only version. The seafood on both occasions was fresh and delicious.
At $22 per person, it is not necessarily an inexpensive proposition, but the paella is presented in a big paella pan at the table, so it makes for a fun family-style experience. The portion sizes are more than generous, and the pretty presentation makes it seem very impressive. If you do order the paella, plan on waiting a bit longer than you normally would expect for an entree to arrive. The server on our first visit was nice enough to point this out, so we expected the wait. On our second trip, the server did not inform us of it. They should make a habit of letting guests know about that. We were told the additional time was needed as each order of paella is made from scratch. Here's a snap of the seafood paella for two:
The only fault I had with the paella was the use of green peppers instead of red peppers only. Just a pet peeve of mine. Also, I detected a few florets of cauliflower and broccoli in there, too. Not exactly authentic, but at least there were a few vegetables in there.
In addition to the paella, the rest of the menu is devoted to a few entrees and a tapas-style selection of other Spanish-influenced and Mediterranean offerings. The serrano ham and cheese fritters are excellent, and the portion size was more than enough for two:
We rounded out our second visit with a few glasses of red wine, a couple of margaritas and some of their house white sangria. I thought the margaritas were so-so, nothing to write home about. The white sangria was slightly better than average - again I think they could have done better.
We skipped dessert the second visit, but I had the churros and chocolate the first time I was there. Cinnamon and sugar dusted donut sticks with hot chocolate to dip them in? What can I say? More restaurants should have this dessert on their menus. It's a winning combination.
The damage: For a party of four with four glasses of red wine, 2 margaritas, 2 glasses of white sangria, 2 appetizers and a paella for 4 with no desserts, the bill came to $162 including tax. With the tip it came to $200 even. I thought this was pretty reasonable for an evening out for 4 adults in Saratoga Springs. We can't wait to go back, and I think at Boca Bistro it's the more the merrier.