Drinking - Los Angeles magazine - Baco Mercat
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Baco Mercat

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408 S. Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90013 213-687-8808
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The Top Ten Best New Restaurants: No. 5, January 2013

Josef Centeno is such a culinary border crosser that he had to come up with his own lingo to describe the dishes. Bäco stands for the restaurant's signature puffy wraps, which reach their crescendo filled with the beef tongue schnitzel he hits with a dab of blazing harissa. Then there's cocä, the crisp flatbread he freights with things like guanciale and a fried egg (a dish he named the Salty Jowl). Despite piling bold flavor upon bold flavor—something he did at Lazy Ox as well—Centeno achieves piercing clarity in a high-ceilinged room that's been furnished with Eames-style office chairs and Edison lights. Rarely emerging from the kitchen, he lets the precision of his food carry the show. Celery root julienne dressed with ravigote vinaigrette underpins the sear of scallops, but it's the feta-poblano crumble and the lick of salmorejo, a bread-and-tomato cream, on the golf ball-size fava fritters that make this a wrap like no other.

 

Best Shrub Cocktail, August 2012

Shrub cocktails may seem new, but the act of mixing fruit with sugar and vinegar dates to colonial times, when folks needed ways to preserve perishable produce. The resulting syrups were then added to water for a refreshing drink. Today we have a better idea, adding shrubs to craft cocktails to imbue them with a tart sweetness. The Inca Punch at Bäco mercat, Josef Centeno's downtown restaurant, is a crimson fusion of pisco, citrus, pineapple, and a shrub made with chicha morada (a Peruvian purple corn concoction). The vinegar leaves a telltale sting at the back of your throat, which is soon mellowed by the ripe pineapple's natural sugars. Your thirst may be quenched after just one, but you'll order another anyway. For the best deal stick to the bäcos, the signature taco-flatbread sandwich hybrids that are the creation of former Lazy Ox Canteen chef Josef Centeno. (At night he ups the ante with fancier though still affordable small plates.) The bäcos are loaded with an ethnic mishmash of ingredients such as carnitassriracha, spiced lebni, oxtail hash, and more. » 408 S. Main St., downtown.

Rating
Price
Categories
Spanish/Tapas/Basque, Latin American
Hours
Mon.-Thur. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-12:00 a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol
Full Bar
Standard of Attire
Casual
Delivery Service
No
Group-Friendly
Yes
Kid-Friendly
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Parking Option(s)
Street
Carry-out
Yes
Reservations
Yes
Waiter Service
Yes
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