I am starting to love Downtown. Not only are there tall skyscrapers and interesting architecture, there is a rich history and a huge redevelopment going on. Not even 10 years ago did you have this many people living in Downtown Los Angeles. With the people came newer and better shops and of course, restaurants. This is an exciting time for restaurants in downtown. Some of my favorite restaurants are on downtown, one of which is Baco Mercat. Chef and owner, Josef Centeno has an impressive resume. He worked at Daniel in New York. He was also the executive chef a Meson G and Opus in Los Angeles. After building on his concept, he opened Baco Mercator in 2011. With his successes, he opened Bar AMA in 2012 then Orsa & Wilson in 2013. Needless to say, Chef Joseph Centeno is on a roll. First, let’s take a look into his first baby, Baco Mercat.
We started things off with a root beer & chocolate bäco pop and Grear’s lemonade. The root beer was quite interesting. It tasted. Dry much like root beer, but had a very distinct chocolate after taste. Imagine drinking root beer with a tootsie roll in your mouth. That’s pretty much what it tasted like. It was uniquely refreshing and delicate. The Grear’s lemonade was nice as well. The added carbonation with the lemonade gave the drink a nice fresh taste–perfect pair with the fatty pork belly sandwiches.
We order the original. This had pork, beef carnitas, and salvitxada sauce. All wrapped in their famous baco (flat bread), the sandwich at first bite is amazing. The soft chew of the baco and the crispy fried pro belly counter each other nicely. The added meat of the carnitas gives this sandwich the extra depth. For me though, the salvitxada sauce put this over the top. The romesco style red pepper sauce gave the sandwich a nice zing and zest. If you were to only get one back sandwich, this is the one to get.
As an avid beef tongue connoisseur, I had to get the beef tongue schnitzel. The beef tongue in this back was quite nice. It’s as tender and soft as beef tongue should be. The beef flavor was extenuated by the harissa, smoked aioli, and pickles. The mixture of flavors from the beef tongue and aioli with harissa was such a good combo.
Sitting at the bar, enjoying my drink and baco sandwich, I realized how great downtown is. West LA, Beverly Hills, and Mid-City aren’t the only places in LA that have exciting restaurants anymore. Downtown is the future, if not, the present. Josef Centeno has been on a roll with his string of restaurants. What the future hold for him and LA is quite exciting.