Restaurant review: Golazo House in Bethlehem serves Colombian with a side of soccer
In early October, Golazo House took over the south Bethlehem location that once was the widely adored Horns It was followed by the Publick House, a restaurant that never seemed to take off.
Golazo House, the name referring to the enthusiastically screamed word denoting an excellent soccer goal, is the latest dining spot at 123 W. Fourth St.
Operated by cousins Javier Alvarado and Sergio Martinez, Golazo serves Colombian food with a healthy side of soccer. The Bethlehem Steel FC soccer team has named the restaurant its official pub partner for the upcoming season, and viewing parties will take place there for away games.
Soccer aside, Golazo's menu is diverse, affordable and full of fantastic house-made items. Traditional Colombian food dominates most of the menu, with items like arepas, empanadas and bunuelos, all at $1.50 or less. The restaurant also serves burgers that use arepas as buns, or the patacon burger that uses two tostones as buns. For those weary of culinary adventure, chicken tenders, nachos, wings and hot dogs fill out the menu. Golazo now has a liquor license and serves a limited selection of spirits and 13 craft and macro beers.
Setting and decor: It should come as no surprise that Golazo has a soccer theme. Scarves from clubs across the world adorn the walls in the front of the restaurant, with framed jerseys and family photos on a rustic wood-paneled wall. A Foosball table is across from the bar. Two large TVs always tuned to soccer are above the bar, framed by an American and a Colombian flag. In the front of the restaurant at the window is sort of a lounge area with another TV and a gaming hookup to play soccer video games. The back of the restaurant features a much larger dining area with similar decor: TVs, jerseys and photos covering the walls.
Appetizer: I ordered the chorizo and arepas ($5). I expected the chorizo to be from a purveyor, and became excited when the bartender said the sausage was house-made. The chorizo was scored and charred, and simply sublime. While not as spicy as many chorizos I've had, it was well-seasoned and delicious. The light and delicious arepas, or grilled cornmeal cakes, were tasty on their own but even better when paired with a bite of chorizo. An uncomplicated dish, it came simply garnished with two lime slices. For the price, it was hard to go wrong here.
For my main course I chose the El Campeon ($10), which was sizable and spectacular. The mouthwatering seasoned pork was the main star, a savory pile of semi-shredded meat. A large serving of white rice accompanied, and was mixed with the chocolate-colored Mexican beans called frijoles. I chose the patacones - fried plantains - as my side (the other option was yucca fries). The small serving was twice-fried and a sweet delight.
My wife got the patacon burger ($8.50), cooked well by default, with American cheese on top and sandwiched between two patacones with lettuce, onion, tomato, salsa rosada and a house cilantro sauce. It was just filling enough for a meal with no leftovers. Instead of fries she ordered a salad for a $1 upcharge, with fresh greens topped with onion slices, tomato slices, crumbled feta cheese and a house-made vinaigrette.
Service: The bartender that served us was delightful and even remembered me from a previous visit. Between regaling us with knowledge of Colombian drinks and discussing their food, he seemed genuinely interested in what we thought of Golazo.
Bottom line: With good Columbian food and friendly staff, I can imagine myself at Golazo many times throughout the soccer season. Dinner for two with a hot tea and a beer totaled $34.09 with tax.
123 W. Fourth St., Bethlehem
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tues.-Thurs.; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat.; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Appetizers: $1-$15; salads: $6-$8; entrees: $5.50-$15; sides: $1.50-$2.50; drinks: $1-$6.50; desserts: $2.50
Credit cards: Yes
Handicapped accessible: Yes
Location: Between Brodhead Avenue and Vine Street, a few blocks from Route 378 near NYC Village Pizza and the Tally Ho Tavern. Metered parking on street.
Glenn Koehler is a freelance writer. He attempts to remain anonymous during restaurant visits.