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Fry Me a River (of Smelts)

Here are the things I dig about the new Bossa Nova on Eighth Street in SoMa.

1.    The supercool website, which will make you want to book a flight to Rio in about two minutes flat.
2.    The live music every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, courtesy of Brazilian hottie Antonio Guedes.
3.    The $7 caipirinhas, especially the classic.


Bossa Nova's fried smelts + caipirinhas.

4.    And finally, the fried smelts, decidedly unglamorous little fish you don’t usually see on menus. On the East Coast, we Italian (recovering) Catholics eat fried smelts on Christmas Eve, as part of our “fast.” I use the word loosely, as our version of fasting involves eating seven different types of fish instead of red meat. But I’m not complaining, as any system under which a feast of lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, sole, mussels and smelts constitutes a sacrifice works fine for me. Anyhow, the smelts my family makes on Christmas Eve are filleted flat and deep-fried in an eggy batter. They’re delicious and traditional, but Bossa Nova’s smelts were—sorry Grandma—even better: roundly whole, which gave them a bit more bite, and fried in a bread-crumb-based batter to a savory crunch. So good! The slight sea taste, the crunchy coating and the spicy dipping sauce make them the perfect snack to go along with cocktails and music. Viva Brazil.