A renovated residence, Bocados feels homey inside, with pastel paints, wood trim, brick work. A stained-glass panel separates the bar area from one of the dining rooms.
When we visited, the food had a similar family feel to it, a very "homestyle" vibe, as if grandma made it.
Part of that vibe may have come from the smoky refried beans, likely made with some good ole' pig fat. Part of it may have been the rich jalapeño cream sauce on our favorite dish of the night -- the meaty, flavorful red snapper tacos.
Part of it may also have been that the owner was chatting with friends at the neighboring table. In fact, we might have been the only people in the restaurant not related to the proprietors (including those attending an office Christmas party in the front room). As my companion put it, "I feel like I'm at someone else's wedding reception."
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Still, the setting was welcome in general, and the service itself was friendly and competent -- the owner even apologized for the party.
The snapper wasn't the only dish worth a mention. After hearing the restaurant had somehow run out of poblano peppers for the chile relleno, our table wound up with two chicken enchilada orders, one with mole and one with salsa verde. Both were tasty. The chicken was pulled but not stringy or dry, a rarity in our experience.
The lone mediocre dish was the nachos. The ingredients were fresh but uncreative, and the avocado wasn't yet ripe. The cheese provided good coverage, but the chips weren't hefty enough to support it or the chicken pieces.
Bocados is at 1312 W. Alabama (parking across the street), and can be reached at 713-523-5230.