Situated next to Alinea, this stylish and slick restaurant looks very promising. The charming staff knows how to make people feel comfortable and the cosmopolitan interior has a good vibe to it. Unfortunately, the food is a little underwhelming.
It is unusual these days to see a restaruant where each description of a dish on the menu is as long as they are here. One example would be the following: adobo, nigella crusted tuna, dungenous crab salad, aji Amarillo, cucumber, ribbons, candied kumquats, yucca chips + poke marinated hamachi, Buddha hand, and young coconut vinaigrette, kiwi, edamame, bonito, dashi puree. With a name like this, a dish is bound to taste interesting at best. That is very much the case, as the sheer number of different ingredients means that the product is not much more than a big collection of strong flavours on a plate of which only the kiwi and the cold texture of the tuna stand out. A little less mad and chaotic is the baby octopus with Korean short ribs, chermoula sauce (north African marinade), unagi terrine, tomatillo and crispy taro root. If this sounds like another fairly random list of products, this dish at least features a nicely marinated piece of eel and a well cooked octopus, which makes the dish are much more pleasant affair.
The duck breast with its confit and tongue is a relatively one-dimensional dish. Whilst the quality of the Muscovy duck is surprisingly good, the balance is again what is not quite right here. The combination here is a bit confusing again, which really does not make it all that exciting to eat such food. With so many products per dish, one really requires the skills of chefs such as those operating next door to make things work. Otherwise, it looks a bit pretentious as it gives the guest the impression that the chef is trying to hard to wow his guests.
That is exactly the main issue here. Clearly there are signs of good cooking here, but the problem are the countless ingredients that find their way onto the plates at Boka. Sometimes less really is more it seems, even if it might be more difficult to make that work. Luckily enough the lovely atmosphere and good service make things up a little and turn an experience here into something quite enjoyable.