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(The) Bohemian Rhapsody

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

The Bohemian

27975 Old 41 Rd

Bonita Springs, FL 34135

There seems to be a common polarization in SWFL. No, it's not Dolphins/Bucs or anything political (enough of that, PLEASE) or even whether returning a shopping cart makes you a good person or not, but rather, when a new restaurant opens that's a little bit left of center, or concerning itself more with experience than value, out comes the pitchforks and torches about to hang any restaurateur who dares to dream in color.

Look, I get it. With supply chain issues, and prices that shot up like rockets falling like feathers, like anyone else, I want to get bang for my moderately hard earned cash... But we're also (we, you know, my massive staff that puts this whole site together, you think Mr. Bites does this all on his own?) more than happy to spend extra cash for a place that focuses on the art of the culinary arts. Though SWFL is an area with plenty of means, all too often I hear (ok, I read..mostly Facebook groups...don't judge) that the only kind of place that is worth breaking the bank is a steakhouse, and commonly, chain steakhouses.

This is too narrow a view of fine dining (and for the record, all white tablecloths do is make me look like a slob by the end of the meal). Which brings me to the Bohemian.

All the words I read about this place were "too expensive", "trying too hard", "no free bread."

This is exactly why we started writing this narcissistic drivel in the first place. To write all the food wrongs committed by food criminals (or at the very least bad food samaritans).

First things first, the decor looks like it took the care that few places in town do. It's a visual concept that could have gone horribly wrong. Eclectic style in a post-modern strip mall?

The place itself is a few smaller rooms linked together, with an ample patio, all tied together with a LOT of shades of blue, semi-chic , semi-campy art and little early 20th century flourishes, which is about the time period the phrase Bohemian became associated with the arty set so that tracks.

We were pleased to be greeted at the bar by former Bar Tulia legend, the only Caucasian I've ever liked with dreads, Stanley. After discussing the menu with my dining partner, and settling into a fantastic Stanley-made Hendrick's up with a twist.

The menu is all over the "high-food" map with everything from Japanese, to some Italian, to New American and other locales, again living up to the eclectic Bohemian name.

The first offering was possibly one of the best spicy tuna on crispy rice I've had outside of the original Katsuya in Studio City, California, which I believe is the origin of the dish. The tuna was perfect, fresh, not too process, and the crispy rice was more of a...potato pancake, with perfect crisp, perfect seasoning. I could have eaten thirty of them.

After deciding to not eat all of the tuna in the North Pacific, our next selection was a pulled pork Bao (I promise it's not all Asian adorably named Sweet Pig Buns.

This is one of those dishes that is VERY delicious with the first bite, with a sweet/smoky/savory thing going on, as all good shredded pork should have, but the pork was extremely saucy/messy and VERY rich. Highly recommend sharing this dish with three people, and not wearing a white shirt while doing so.. Having one each is perfect; anything more than that is flavor overkill.

The good news after these 2 dishes, is that while small in size, they were extremely filling, which puts this place within reach for even though on a budget, unless you go a bit big on the wine list. Worth noting that it's not a big list but it's great, not wallowing in the Napa Cab/Pinot morass too often found in SWFL. These are wines that bore my taste buds with young jammy grapeness.

Our final selection Goat and the Rye, which is exactly what it sounds like. Goat cheese on rye bread, with hot honey and pistachios. As I'm a big fan of adding texture to dishes, and rye bread, this was a perfect ending to the meal, cream goat cheese, the light sourness of the rye and the sweet honey showed an attention to diverse might call...eclectic (again?) and see Barbara, they DO have bread.

There are probably 3-4 other places in SWFL (ask me!) that pull off this level of creative culinary design and flavor. Hopefully more follow the lead on this spot and wake up the sleeping taste buds of those relying on steak and potatoes for their fine dining experience.

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