La Bodega: Dominican Sandwiches in Pioneer Square
A cook with experience in some impressive local kitchens strikes out on his own. Oh, and he'll deliver.
Manuel, or Manu, Alfau, currently a cook at Blind Pig Bistro, is getting back to his Dominican roots. On Friday Eater Seattle reported the (very exciting) news that Alfau is opening a sandwich shop in Pioneer Square called La Bodega.
A Dominican-style sandwich, says Alfau, is similar to a Cuban, “except it doesn’t have a ham and cheese, which makes a Cuban a Cuban.” His signature sandwich will be stuffed with pernil, a roasted pork shoulder that’s been marinated in garlic, oregano, lime juice, and cilantro. The pork is one of the nation’s signature dishes, made even more tempting with pickled cabbage, mayo, and cilantro, as well as a square bun from Macrina that Alfau says is the closest thing he could find to pan de agua, and holds up to heat and pressing.
He’s also planning a vegetarian option and a rotating sandwich special, as well as “a good amount of salad,” like white bean or local babyhead greens, and plenty of plantain chips. Some platas del dia will give Alfau a chance to do some nonsandwich cooking, which should be second nature after working as opening sous chef at Anchovies and Olives and La Bête, then joining his former Anchovies chef, Charles Walpole, at Blind Pig Bistro. Those daily plates will be heavy on Caribbean flavors like yucca, plantain, or braised chicken.
All his ingredients, says Alfau, “will be as organic as they can be.” The space at 100 Prefontaine Place S, is near Third and Yesler, as well as roughly 10 million office workers and stadiumgoers. When Alfau first moved to Seattle and worked at Union, he had an apartment nearby and remembers thinking, “damn, this is such a cool little spot.” When he returned from a six-month stint cooking in Vancouver, he happened to ride his bike by the space heard the current occupant, one Seasons Cafe, was vacating, and swooped. The space will seat about 15 people, but Alfau says La Bodega will be heavy on takeout orders, and…delivery. He is envisioning a handful of scooters or bike messengers ferrying sandwiches north to office buildings or south to the stadium area.