To preface this piece, I am a huge sucker for “hidden gem” restaurants, as I find that they have some of the best cuisine for the right price. Though some may be more difficult to find than others, the adventure comprises half the excitement with the reward being the fare at the end of the culinary rainbow.

Enter Bodega Taco Bar, nestled in the corner of Heritage Square on Post Road in Fairfield. If it wasn’t for a reliable GPS, I was sure to have missed the joint, as the sign goes by quickly to a passing car. However, once inside you are greeted with the chaotically beautiful atmosphere that differentiates Bodega from your typical Chipotle. With stringed lights and bottles lining the windows and bar area, Bodega comes across as an artistically chic culinary foreground for anyone looking for a cute place to go out.

The menu, for starters, was a modern twist on your typical mexican dishes, as well as a variety of craft brews from Two Roads and a comprehensive list of margaritas that appeal to virtually any pallet. Unfortunately, being under 21, I couldn’t consume any alcohol, but I kept with the adage of “look but don’t touch,” especially with the “Sunrise in Tulum” margarita, made with Cabo Wabo anejo, strawberries, pineapples and lemon juice.

When it came time to order, I was overwhelmed with all the options presented in front of me as well as the specials. I played it safe and ordered the “Drowned Sandwich,” which included a slow-roasted, home smoked brisket, New Mexico chili sauce and a fried egg to boot.

After a short wait, our food arrived. I was shocked upon arrival that my sandwich wasn’t actually a sandwich, rather, the components thrown into a well-presented stew that exuded a spicy yet mellow aroma.

Regardless, I chomped down and the first thing I couldn’t help but note was how well the chili sauce mixed with the brisket, forming a taste that married my two favorite palettes, sweet and spicey. The egg was fried just like how my Portuguese grandmother makes it back home, which brought back a rush of memories, seemingly encapsulating this meal as a great one.

By the end of the meal, I couldn’t find a reason to complain with the prices of both dishes, which came in under $20 — a steal for a college budget and surprisingly cheaper than almost any restaurant on Post Road. To top it all off, the food was excellent on almost all culinary levels and the restaurant exuded one of the cutest yet artistically pleasing vibes of any place I’ve been to in Fairfield. Take the voyage, keep your eyes peeled and once you find this gem, you will be eternally grateful to the culinary gods.

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