October 07

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Gordo

This was one of the restaurants we heard about pretty much upon arrival in Bogota. Very popular with the American (U.S.) population here.  Advertised as a transplanted piece of Brooklyn style serving down-home comfort fare, Gordo (translation: fat or fatty) claims to have something for the burger-lover in all of us. Saturday night, we decided to find out if it could deliver on all the hype.

Upon exiting the cab, the restaurant reveal was charmingly underwhelming. No big flashing lights, not much signage at all. And once inside, the underwhelming aesthetic continues. The restaurant is narrow and dark, simple wooden tables and chairs, and a nice, big bar with all the basics and not much else. With the exception of a cool, copper-toned tin ceiling, the space felt like a regular hole-in-the-wall. Maybe the mood landed right because it’s just so good to be out on a Saturday night, but I gotta say: I loved how little they were trying to impress me. It felt like a got-nothing-to-prove attitude; like a pub ought to feel. And arriving at 7:00 ensured we not only got a table, but also had no problem conversing at a human decibel level.

Then the food arrived. I ordered the beef belly, and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Tender, juicy, seasoned but not too spicy – just delicious. Served with a spinach side salad, whose lightness was the ideal complement to such a hunk of meat. Other parties at the table went with burgers, and those come highly recommended as well. Big patties cooked to perfection – that’s a rare find in Colombia. And as one friend commented, the buns look like something from a commercial: glazed and glistening and clearly home-cooked. Mm-mm delicious.

Many of the newer restaurants here are huge. As in Texas-sized. And they’re often landscaped, decorated and embellished beyond what’s visually appealing. It’s just too much. To find a place with an English menu that doesn’t follow this unappealing new trend, and is neither slummy-pretentious, is a real joy. And with food this good, we’ll all be happy gordos indeed.