Some friends and I ended up at Bogota Bistro (141 5th Avenue, at St. Johns Place, 718-230-3805) on a recent rainy night to escape the wetness and pretend we were in a tropical locale. We were seated in the back room which was decorated, like one friend said, like Epcot Center. It was a little mish-mosh cheesy, but there was a Happy Hour deal so we went along with things and decided to be festive.
The drinks were good - I got a Strawberry Mojito which was delicious, my boyfriend got a Hot Toddy and another friend got a Mango Margarita. They were all tasty, and the fruity drinks were full of chunks of fruit and strong.
There's a lot to choose from here, ranging from small plates of little treats (Empanadas, Arepas, etc.) to full meals with rice and beans. Some things were really good, some were mediocre, nothing was terrible. I chose the Pom Palm Salad with Hearts of Palm, Pomegranate, Mango, Pepper, Watercress and Cilantro. This was a really good salad, all tart and tangy in a great dressing. All the ingredients were fresh and flavorful and were in good proportions.
I also got the White Arepa with Pork Chicharron. This was disappointing. The arepa was sort of bland, with cooked-to-death pieces of pork on top. I know chicharron is fried, but this seemed extreme. It was so underwhelming I neglected to take a photo.
My BF got the Empanada with Blue Cheese and Spinach. This was quite tasty, and subtle. The blue cheese wasn't overpowering and the spinach was a nice, green balance that made it feel on the healthy side of indulgent.
He also got the Arroz con Pollo which was good, but nothing special. It had all the standard components of this dish, plus tasty red cabbage and sweet plantains, which I love. The chicken was juicy and mixed in with the rice and came with a small side of black beans.
My friend got the Tortilla Soup with Chicken, Spicy Chipotle Broth, Avocado, Sour Cream, Jack Cheese and Cilantro. This was very spicy and savory, perfect for the cold, wet night. The strips of tortilla added a nice, salty crunch.
All in all it was fine, but most of the dishes lacked a certain flair. I don't think we'll be adding it to our regular rotation of restaurants, but it's a fun place to go for good Mojitos, Margaritas and little treats.