… Because I won’t let it.
My birthday always falls on or around Thanksgiving, which I fully use as an excuse to make it last over a week. A family dinner at Bodega Negra was the final bow for my birthday week this year, because everyone I know is sick of me using that as an excuse, and I can’t think of a better way to have ended it.
Located beneath the ever-opulent and fabulous Dream Downtown Hotel (Just sit in the lobby for a little while, best people-watching in NYC!) Bodega Negra is a dark and cozy tequila bar and Mexican restaurant. The dim light forces everyone to pull out their iPhone flashlights to read the menu, but hey, it’s part of the experience for sure.
They’ll sell you on their signature cocktail, which unfortunately involved the one fruit I’m allergic too, but the pitcher of traditional margarita my family split? Stellar, strong, and worth it. They can make any of their cocktails in a pitcher for sharing, but I’d highly suggest going traditional. Bonus points for the extra salt on our glasses, too.
We went backwards, starting with tacos and then later deciding we wanted to keep snacking. The skirt steak (which was still smoking when it arrived to our table) is a must, though they are spicier than they appear, even if you accidentally drop half of the salsa roja on your plate. The pork belly, which has a very mild green salsa on it, is basically a bacon taco, and the fish is a strong contender too.
We ordered appetizers for round two: jalapeno rellenos, street corn, and a massive quesadilla that was more like the best white pizza I’ve ever had. I was a little too spice-shy to give one of the jalapenos a try, but there was street corn so I was perfectly happy (Things I didn’t know existed until I lived in Austin… You grill corn and cover it in cheese. It’s epic, though I’m still wondering why I had to move to Texas to discover this is a thing…)
The grand finale is the Don Huevo dessert, which is probably the only thing you’ll see if you troll the geotag for the restaurant on Instagram. It’s a white chocolate orb with a cute little mustache, and he’s brought to your table with hot caramel sauce, only to be dumped over his head so he melts dramatically to reveal a molten-dark chocolate cake. I feared it would be over-rated and more for show than flavor, but as soon as I managed to get a scoopful of the cake, I was proven wrong. I distinctly remember asking the table for the best way to describe the cake, as the intensity of the chocolate, the sweet caramel, and the residual melted white chocolate had left me pretty much speechless (Which is very, very hard to do) and regretting having eaten so much quesadilla about a half hour earlier.
A big, white chocolate orb with a mustache-sized thank you to my incredible family for helping me end my birthday week on the highest of high notes, and with dark chocolate cake!
355 W 16th St
New York, NY 10011