Sherman's Food Adventures: Bravas Bar de Tapas

Bravas Bar de Tapas

So making the journey from Crescent City to Fremont wasn't exactly the shortest drive we could've planned.  Furthermore, taking detours to see the giant redwoods made for even a longer day.  However, with no reason to add another stop to our already long road trip, we had to do what we had to do.  Our original plan was to stop in Berkeley for some dinner before the short jaunt over to Fremont (where my cousins live).  That changed suddenly when we exited in Healdsburg to use the washroom.  This ended up with a visit to Bravas Bar de Tapas for dinner!

After ordering some sangrias (only for the adults!), we got down to the food starting with the Patatas Bravas with spicy tomato sauce and aioli.  Consisting of medium-sized chunks of fried potatoes, this was a nice start to the meal.  Viv thought the potatoes were fried too much, but I didn't mind them as they sported a firmly crunchy exterior.  Although, I did agree with her that the potatoes as a whole were too dense.  The aioli was creamy and garlicky while the tomato sauce was rather sweet.  The kids really loved the Creamy Chicken Croquetas as they were lightly crispy on the outside.  Inside, the filling was indeed creamy with small pieces of ham.  The combination of the ham and gruyere cheese made this robust and bordering on salty.

One of the more surprising dishes was the Fried Eggplant Chips with truffle honey and rosemary.  They didn't resemble a vegetable in anyway.  So much so, the kids thought they were pretty good!  Evenly crispy with very little eggplant texture, these did live up to the "chip" in its description.  Due to the honey, the chips ate rather sweet with the earthiness of truffle and woodsiness of the rosemary.  Another vegetable that we ordered was the Asparagus with black garlic aioli, crispy jamon and preserved lemon.  Sometimes, veggies don't get enough appreciation but these were very good.  Charred with a smokiness while still not overdone, the asparagus were well-seasoned.  The earthiness from the black garlic and saltiness of the jamon packed a punch.  Bitterness of the preserved lemon rind provided good balance.

Served as little sandwiches (Bocadillos), the duck meatballs were fantastic.  They were large and meaty without being dense nor dry.  We enjoyed how they were almost crumbly without falling apart.  The duck gaminess really came through in an appealing manner which was aided by the lightly sweet tomato sofrito with onions.  To brighten things up, there was a green olive tapenade as well.  Staying with the meats, we had the Skirt Steak with valdeon cheese butter, smashed fingerlings, red onion marmalade and mustard seed.  Prepared medium-rare (but closer to rare), the steak was beautifully tender.  It was rested properly where the juices stayed within.  Loved the sharp aromatics of the blue cheese as it soaked into the tender potatoes.

One of my favorite items was the Octopus with fingerlings, smoked paprika and olives.  The large tentacle couldn't have been anymore tender while still maintaining a pleasant bite.  It was nicely charred and well-seasoned.  However, the smokiness and earthiness of the paprika really came through.  The charred lemon on the side really brought things to life with a smoky brightness.  We ended off with the Original BFC Fried Chicken with DC mumbo sauce, garlic toast and kale, manchego and fennel salad.  The fried half chicken was firmly crunchy (although the batter was a bit dry) with moist meat inside.  Combined with the sauce, it almost ate like Korean fried chicken.  Interestingly, the best part was the baby kale salad as it was dressed with lime and boasted a bevy of cheese.  Overall, Bravas Bar was a surprise as we randomly chose it as our dinner destination after we exited the highway to find a washroom.  Food was good and service was attentive.

The Good:
- Generally solid eats
- Fair pricing
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- Fried chicken was good but the batter was dry and a touch mealy


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