Heightening The Humble BacoFresh off a big win as one of foodie bible Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 10 best new U.S. restaurants, Baco Mercat – briefly a convivial, Downtown neighbourhood nook – has instantly become an L.A. hotspot, as painfully hip and perpetually packed as it is delicious.
From Chef Josef Centeno, who over several years conceived the original ‘baco’ (flatbread folded and stuffed with pork belly, beef carnitas, and tomato almond salbitxada) comes a menu with six new versions, including the inventive ‘beef tongue schnitzel’ with harissa, smoked aioli and pickle, and the ‘toron’ with oxtail hash, pickle, cheddar and horseradish.
Although the signature bacos are must-tries, they in fact make up only a small part of the Nouveau American menu, which reads like a complete inventory of Southern California’s organic meats and fresh local produce.
At lunch, vegetable-focused offerings like blistered okra and ricotta-stuffed squash blossom feature, while dinner service includes heavy-hitter meat plates like buttermilk fried quail, soujouk pork belly ragu, and 16 oz. ribeyes alongside crispy flatbreads and a spectrum of seasonal vegetables.
If you (understandably) just can’t decide, book ahead and bring along 6-8 friends for the ‘family-style menu’ – a veritable feast of Centeno’s star plates.